I was at a large gathering of my husband's family this weekend. There were several relatives there I hadn't met before, and many others we haven't seen in a very long time. This included one of my husband's great uncles, who we met briefly several years ago. He is in his eighties, and I honestly don't even recall where we met. A wedding, maybe? Since that time, we've sent him a Christmas card each year. In this day and age, this is really not a big deal. You just type in the address, and it prints out with all the others. However, this gentleman did not regard this as a small thing. He made a point to tell me how much he appreciated our cards, and what a kind and thoughtful person I am for sending it to him. Huh. Who would have thought?
My lesson from this brief encounter is that we can never know the impact small gestures will have on someone else. I wonder if the Starbucks cashier knows how pleased she made me by complimenting my make-up this morning? That made it easier for me to smile at people in line at Walgreens, and maybe they will be more likely to offer a kind word to the next person they meet. It's an epidemic of kindness and love! That's so much nicer than the typical pattern of anger and frustration seeping from one person to infect the next. Little gestures can brighten a bad day, or make a person feel appreciated. I know I will be more likely to look for small ways to be kind after realizing the impact something so little can make to another person.