A Random Act of Kindness (RAK) is something that you do to show love to someone with nothing expected in return. You are not required to do it nor is anything required on their part to receive the gift.
Where did the term originate?
Many years ago, I heard this term used for the first time by a pastor at our church, Rev. Fred Jackson. He would talk about the value in giving something to someone, no matter how small, “just because.” He organized a popcorn evangelism day where we walked around the neighborhood, giving out microwave popcorn. There were attached invitations to “pop” over and visit our church, but no pressure or anything. We were just supposed to tell them that we wanted to give them some popcorn. The premise was that people did not expect to receive something with nothing required in return. (I think that there is a very deep theological connotation relating to Grace to be found here, but that’s a whole other discussion.)
Receiving isn’t too bad, either
The whole point of this article is to encourage a giving spirit, and the saying is true about giving to others being greater than receiving. However, receiving is pretty wonderful, too! And, it helps you to understand what you can do to bless others. Today, I was on the receiving end of a RAK, and it is amazing what kind of power is involved in such an action.
A Heavy Load
I have had a very stressful week; my elderly mother has fallen several times. The week has consisted of ambulances, emergency rooms, breakneck trips to her house, calls from Life Line, a few days of trying to care for her at my house, and entry into a skilled nursing facility yesterday for therapy. So many feelings are swishing around in my head: relief, uncertainty, guilt and failure.
We Need a Little Christmas
Christmas has been put on hold, and we haven’t even gotten to put up our Christmas tree. We always have a special “put up the tree party,” but the night my son was home last week was spent in the emergency room.
Stressed does not begin to describe how I have been feeling, and the Christmas Spirit had certainly eluded me. I was a little bummed that I had to leave to go to tend to mother’s needs today because my son was in for just a few hours.
Upon arriving at the facility, while waiting in line to handle the business that I needed to handle with the office, I looked up to see a dear friend, Kathy, walk into the lobby. I was so glad to see her, and it seemed to lighten my load a bit.
Anyway, my friend Kathy had two huge, glittery Christmas bags in her arms. I didn’t know who she was there to see, but she informed me that she was there to see me and my mother, in that order! She had a gift for each of us! I would not have expected this pleasant surprise in a million years. We haven’t exchanged Christmas gifts since we were around 7 years old and she drew my name in children’s choir at church.
We all have those people that we “exchange” gifts with in a most organized fashion. Often there are even rules set up about how much you spend and such. Sometimes, there are even lists made out telling you what you will “give” the person. These sort of things have always gotten on my nerves. I think somewhere the whole process destroys the practice of giving gifts.
Mom was very surprised, too. She brought us the most beautiful Christmas Music Boxes. Mine was a little Gingerbread house with gingerbread men dancing in a circle inside; she brought mother a Christmas tree with a train going around inside. They were so beautiful, and I don’t think any Christmas gift or decoration has meant so much to me as that did today.
Totally unexpected happy surprises, she had no obligation to give these treasures to us. It was a true and purely random act of kindness. She showed her caring concern in a tangible, or touchable, way by her gifts. I look at that precious little music box in its place of honor on my hearth, and I see that someone cares about me and expects nothing in return.
Pass it on
This has made me realize that I want to make other people feel the way that Kathy made me feel today. I want to do Random Acts of Kindness for others. This takes the love that we talk about and makes it something that people can see, touch, and feel.