“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness.”— Seneca
On May 31, 2022, my husband and I got the worst phone call of our lives. Our wonderful, quirky, loyal, hardworking, beautiful child had died by suicide at the age of 26. In the haze of days that followed, what kept coming to mind was that while it was too late to save my child, it wasn’t too late to help someone else who was struggling.
So, when our family shared the news of our child’s death, we asked friends to do a simple act of kindness in their honor to help something good come out of the senseless tragedy. At the funeral, we even paused the service for 10 minutes to encourage attendees to do something kind in that very moment–talk to the stranger sitting next to them, get up and hug someone, text or call a loved one, or write a note on blank cards we made available. Almost 200 cards were taken and used that day. The chapel was overflowing with love that lifted and comforted everyone there. It was a powerful experience.
The larger response around that time was overwhelming as well: our family was and continues to be the beneficiary of untold acts of kindness. We have learned about acts of kindness in our child’s honor rippling out over the globe: from the US to the Dominican Republic, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Cambodia, Argentina, Peru, DR Congo, Norway, and more — and those are just the ones we were told about. Can you imagine the kindness that continued spreading around the world as a result? The ripples may be continuing still. It makes us smile to imagine our late child being in absolute wonder to see acts of kindness done in their honor, to finally know how much they were loved and how much they truly mattered all along.
Today, will you do a small act of kindness too? Call someone you’ve noticed on the fringes. Text someone you haven’t talked to in a while to let them know they are important to you. Email words of encouragement to a missionary. Stop by a friend’s house and give them a hug for no reason. Mow your neighbor’s yard while you’re doing your own. Look a cashier in the eye and acknowledge him or her as a fellow traveler on this planet carrying a divine spark. Even if all you have the energy to do is smile at someone as you pass, you have made the world a better place.
Just one act of kindness. Every day. It’s so simple. It may feel as small and insignificant as holding up a tiny candle in the vast dark, but I truly believe that together, as we each lift our flame, we will light up the world and chase out the darkness. Kindness is powerful.
You matter. I’m so glad you’re here. You make a difference. Your light helps brighten the world. Don’t ever forget how much you’re loved.