A Moment of Kindness in a Morning of Chaos
A few weeks ago I had a subtly profound experience. The kind of experience that would have never come to be had I made a different choice in the flash of a moment. It reminded me of how powerful a moment, and the choices we make within them, can be.
It was a hustle and bustle kind of morning from the start. Rising late meant I was running late, resulting in me fumbling around frantically trying to do five things at once, simultaneously failing at all of them. You know the drill. A classic case of the Mondays. Only it was a Friday.
An hour late but finally on the road, I was five minutes into my twenty-five minute commute when I saw a sedan, caught in a snow bank on the side of the road. Wheels spinning, cars rushing by, completely stuck. Immediately, I felt a desire to help. My mind retaliated disapprovingly of my instinct, though. “You are so incredibly, inexcusably late as it is—you don’t have time for this,” it lectured.
As mind and gut battled it out, a simple but somehow forgettable truth dawned upon me. The power to make a difference—to help, support, show compassion, and love—is born out of action. Action directed by choice; choice being the only thing in this world we have complete control over. It’s as simple and as (sometimes) inconvenient as that.
So there I was, super late, faced with the choice to follow my instinct or ignore it and continue spiraling toward chaos at 40 MPH. And there this stranger was, stuck in the snow, having a presumably worse start to the day than I.
‘How long will he go on being stuck there?’ I wondered. My gut responded, ‘Until he has a pair of helping hands’. Some help. Some support. Some compassion. Some love. How simple a solution, but how difficult to obtain. People were present all around this person, but so far no one was willing to give their time to someone so clearly in need.
[Image via The Fresh Exchange]
My decision was made. I pulled over to the side of the road. “Need some help?” I asked.
After few minutes of unsuccessful huffing, puffing, and pushing, another man pulled over. “Need some help?” he asked. The three of us began a team effort that included resourceful shoveling-out of the wheels (windshield scrapers make excellent impromptu shovels), and a lot of pushing to help this stranger get on his way. At the end of it all, there were no names exchanged. Just a grateful “Thank you” and “Have a nice day.”
The irony is that by actively choosing to make time when there was “none to spare”, my morning of stress, struggle and chaos was transformed. Driving away, I felt more at peace. I was calm and grateful for this unexpected and brief, yet significant, moment. A moment that filled my cup so much, the excess of it trickled throughout the rest of my day, like some kind of residual random act of kindness euphoria.
Time and time again, I find the more you give of yourself, the more you get. Seek selflessness and you shall find fulfillment.
The best kind of giving, in my humble opinion, is done without expectation, acknowledgment or praise. It’s random, spontaneous, pure of intention, and from the heart. It requires us to be present, to observe the world around us, and embrace the countless number of opportunities we have to infuse kindness and positivity into every day.
Sometimes we must allow ourselves to run later than late, veer from our pre-constructed plans, and respond with action when a moment of kindness presents itself. Carpe diem, right? To seize the day, we must start by seizing each moment, no matter how seemingly small.
Mandy Moran is an eternal ray of optimism, ever curious, ever excited about the world. She’s a returned Peace Corps Volunteer and trained yogi, who has practiced everywhere from lakeside retreats in Guatemala to the bamboo studios of Bali. When not galavanting the globe, she’s living in and loving the city of Detroit.