Last weekend I attended the annual “Melaleuca, The Wellness Company” Convention in Salt Lake City Utah. In case you’re bracing yourself for a sales pitch, take a deep breath and relax. Even though I absolutely love the company and their over 500 wellness products, many of which my sweetheart Antoinette and I have been using for years, this post isn’t about that. This post is about the sweet angel God sent across my path Saturday afternoon May 14 around 5:00.
Conference attendees had been given a three hour break before the evening Gala, and I had taken advantage of the time for a short walking tour of Temple Square, the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The nice young missionary ladies the South Visitors Center had greeted me with smiles, asked where I was from and generally engaged in pleasant conversation. As I was leaving, they offered me a copy of the Book of Mormon and asked if they could keep in touch with me. Sure, I said, why not?
As I walked through an outdoor mall area on my way back to the Salt Palace Convention Center, I decided to sit for a while, enjoy some fresh air, and watch the children play in the water fountain area. As an inquisitive person, I opened the Book of Mormon and took a cursory look. I really don’t know much about the LDS Church or the story in the book, but the pictures in the first few pages certainly helped. I hadn’t gotten very far when my concentration was interrupted by the voice of a young woman who had walked over to my table. “Hi!” she said with a big smile. “I see you are reading The Book of Mormon, and I don’t mean to intrude, but something told me to come over here and talk to you.”
After exchanging pleasantries and chatting about our backgrounds, she saw my wrist band and exclaimed, “Oh wow, you’re here for the convention! Me too!” Now we had something new to talk about, and we excitedly shared our love for wellness and a company with high integrity, compassion for people, and wonderful products. But what she told me next broke my heart and brought tears to my eyes.
Now before I tell you what she said, I want to ask you a question. When was the last time you went out of your way to do something kind for somebody you didn’t know? Can’t remember? Ok, let’s make it a little easier. When was the last time you went out of your way to do something kind for someone you do know? I hope you can recall that one a little quicker.
Nothing touches our hearts quite like experiencing kindness from someone, especially someone we don’t even know. I wrote a blog post about kindness a while back titled: The Benefits of Kindness. Here’s the link in case you missed it.
Kindness is a wonderful trait, and the idea that every single person can make a difference in someone else’s life (not to mention their own) by being kind is just mind boggling. There’s even a handful of web sites for ideas and more information about random acts of kindness, including this one: www.randomactsofkindness.org.
In an awkward moment of silence and with a slight hint of a choke, she then told me how only five months earlier, her 16 month old son had passed away from SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). How does someone smile while mourning the death of their infant child? I’m not sure how I would be able to handle losing a grandchild, not to mention losing a 16 month old son. I remember when our son Josh was about that old and he contracted spinal meningitis. According to the doctor, it was a miracle he survived. Then with a smile and a tear running down her cheek, she said she knew she would see him soon, when their family (she, her husband and their two daughters) would be made whole again. Through tears, I told her I understood her loss, since I too had lost someone I loved to a cruel monster called cancer three years prior.
Then with an even bigger smile, she described how she had created a Facebook page and a movement in memory of her son. Just a week earlier, they had celebrated their late son’s birthday, as did many other friends and family. How did they celebrate? By committing random acts of kindness, and encouraging others to do the same. Here’s a clip from their celebration page:
Do you want to know what you can do for family to celebrate Jack tomorrow for his birthday? I’ve got the answer! We’ve decided that finding JOY FOR JACK includes spreading that JOY. We will be dedicating tomorrow to honoring and remembering Jack and serving others. What brings more JOY than serving others? Participate however you see fit for you and your day. Whether it is simply smiling at those you see, dropping off a plate of goodies to a neighbor, opening the door for a stranger, taking someone’s shopping cart back after they’re finished loading groceries, having your kids make a card for a friend and leaving it on their porch, paying for someones food in the drive thru behind you… the possibilities are endless! (You totally can do that and it feels amazing!)
I will attach the pdf file of these JOY CARDS in the comments. If you would like, you can keep the goodness going by passing these along to the people you serve. An explanation can be given or no words even need to be spoken. Simply hold open the door, maybe hand them a card, and ask them to pay it forward. If you feel so inclined, I would LOVE to hear your stories. How did it make you feel? Maybe you snapped a picture of the cute old lady who you helped at the store, maybe your kids write a sweet note to a teacher or friend. If you’re part of the page I created, JOY FOR JACK, you can post on there. Feel free to post this image to your page to spread the word! However you want to share with me, I would LOVE it!
I have truly felt the love and goodness of people over the past five months. It isn’t necessarily the act that means the world, it is simply the love that is shown. Love and kindness truly do make a difference.
We know that Jack is in Heaven celebrating the day he entered this world and joined our family. He received a body and brought more love to our family than I could ever begin to describe. We too will be celebrating. Celebrating the life Jack had here on Earth and the life he continues to live in our Heavenly home. We pray he will be near tomorrow and also hope that you can participate in spreading JOY FOR JACK tomorrow in his honor.
For almost an hour, we talked about our faith, our families, and our losses. Even now I don’t know whether God sent her my way for her benefit or for mine, but it really doesn’t matter, does it? I’m pretty sure God knows what He’s (or She’s) doing. As for me, I can only say this for sure: we all have or will experience loss in our lives. In one way or another, at some point, we will feel the pain of losing someone and experience a broken heart. The question is, how will you heal your broken heart? This amazing young mom healed (and is continuing to heal) hers and her family’s through kindness and love.
As I said in my previous post on kindness, we talk (or at least think) about wanting to see crime rates go down, about the problems of public education, about bullying, and about being discontented with the world we live in. People expend incredible energy complaining about politics, religion, and taxes. But what’s the point of that? Complaining produces absolutely nothing – what a terrible waste! If you want to make a difference in the world, why not join this young mom and many others, and incorporate as much kindness into your life as possible? Then just give it away. It’s a wonderful way to remember someone, and to begin to heal broken hearts.
“To be rich in admiration and free from envy, to rejoice greatly in the good of others, to love with such generosity of heart that your love is still a dear possession in absence or unkindness – these are the gifts which money cannot buy.” Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)
All the best,