Like most of you, I woke up this morning to learn of the devastating news out of Las Vegas. When I learned of the horrendous mass shooting, I asked the typical questions: Who was this guy? What could possibly drive a person to do something so deplorable? How can I help? How can anyone possibly help during a time like this?
My natural inclination is to feel overwhelmed with empathy and crippled by a sense of helplessness. My knee-jerk reaction is to feel really dumb, just flat out silly for trying to fill this dark world with light and love when times like these seem to prove that the world is, quite simply, too far gone. My impulse is to pack up this hope of mine and to stuff all my feelings with so much pie.
Then I checked my messages. And I read your notes of encouragement and thanks. I read all the kind words many of you had to say about Adam. I saw that my blog has had over 15,000 views in anticipation of - and in response to - #AdamsActs. I saw all the invoices of people who bought my little devotional. I saw the Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts. All the shares and comments and hashtags. And guys, my heart was full of hope again.
My #AdamsActs today weren’t anything life-changing or grandiose. I did some small, simple things that anyone can do. I chose to start with something simple because I don’t want people to feel overwhelmed or intimidated going into this month of kindness. Being purposeful and intentional is the point, not grandiosity. Besides, small kindnesses are sustainable throughout the year so cultivating the habit of making small gestures ultimately leads to more kindness in the long run!
The first thing I did was buy conditioner. See, I told you anyone could do this. There is a line of haircare products (I get them at Target) by a company called SoapBox and when you purchase one of their items you do an act of kindness. Here’s how… the company’s mission is to donate a bar of soap every time a product is purchased. There is a little hope code you can enter to see the impact each purchase makes. It’s pretty great! And such a small, easy change to make. (For all you curly haired peeps out there, the conditioner is actually really great and works on all the various ethnic textures we got happening up in here.) Handwashing saves lives, especially in developing countries where access to healthcare and education about healthy sanitation practices are limited.
The second thing I did was buy some other stuff. (I’m seriously low on some essentials ok.) Instead of using the regular Amazon site to restock on whatever it is you need, check out Amazon Smile. It’s basically the same thing as Amazon, except you can select the charitable organization of your choice and Amazon will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products. It is a very simple change to make if you are already an Amazon shopper. There are a lot of organizations to choose from and you can change your choice at any time.
The last small thing I did was send a quick note to a photographer buddy who took some amazing photographs at my friends' Ben and Lexi's wedding. He is a great guy, with a lovely family, he's super talented and I really wanted to encourage him. Plus it gives me an excuse to share his amazing work with you:
And if you want a little bonus treat, let's just zoom right in on what Sam had to deal with... my daughter in stage 4 of the grief process that her "Aunt Lexi" is getting married.
I guess she thought things wouldn't be the same after they got married... so she sobbed audibly through the entire photo shoot and half the reception. Sam was a champ though and the photos still turned out beautifully!
Buying soap on Amazon Smile or sending a note to encourage someone is not going to directly help the victims in Las Vegas or change the world, that's true. Still, I am going to fight against that feeling that I can't make a real impact or that I am silly for wanting people to have soap or clean water or a kind word from a friend. I will do a million tiny little things to extend kindness to strangers this month and for the rest of my life because the alternative is to do nothing. And I will never, ever do nothing. Especially when I could just as easily do something small, but still very kind. In light of the hundreds of lives that have been permanently altered by the nightmare that unfolded in Las Vegas, it suddenly feels silly not to send a note or to share our soap. The small things may be simple, but they are also sacred and powerful and contagious. Perhaps the small, insistent acts of kindness are the best chance we have of preventing hate in the first place.
If you have not purchased the 31 Day Devotional Guide to Greater Kindness, it's not too late to join in! You can purchase it here for $1.99