By Loraine Debnam
After witnessing a good deed, I heard someone comment this was a ticket to heaven.
Since the speaker was an Anglican minister, I suspect this may have been an area of expertise. Good deeds, generosity, random acts of kindness, all describe caring and thoughtful things people do simply because the best of their humanity has blossomed at that moment. They are not the necessary and expected behaviours day-to-day life requires of us all, but are greater deeds in the truest sense of the word.
But, it takes time to practice generosity. We are all caught up in the pressures of our own daily lives and may not have the energy or resources to work a shift at the food bank, knit mittens for Streets Alive, pack a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child or drive a neighbour to an appointment. So, we do nothing. It isn’t the money you know, it’s the time.
Time shouldn’t be just about making money. Time is also for sharing joy and happiness and pain and sorrow with others. The wealthiest people can’t buy happiness and are often the least inclined to make others happy.
Those who are unstinting with their time are much more capable of doing this. There are simple ways to practice good deeds without spending money. If we look at things with a different attitude, if we put ourselves in another person’s shoes, perhaps we may be more generous and less judgmental.
It’s important to celebrate with others when they succeed; be compassionate when they falter, and be humble and recognize no one is perfect.
Even the tiniest gesture of kindness can have a powerful effect on another person. I feel this when I am gifted with a smile from the person behind me, as we stand in line to pay for our groceries, when someone holds the door open for me or when an employee cheerfully packs out my purchases at the neighbourhood store.
It’s contagious. I leave with a buoyed up feeling and a smile of my own, which is passed on to the next person I encounter. The Oprah Winfrey show did an entire program on these random acts of kindness and it was amazing how many recipients went on to do a similar act for someone else — and they didn’t even know they were being taped for television. Sometimes we assume a cynical attitude don’t we?
Last weekend, my neighbour was outside picking up leaves and when I glanced out the window, I discovered he had completely cleaned off my driveway as well.
At the 7-11, while waiting at the till to pay for her coffee, my daughter noticed the young man in front of her was short only twenty cents for his purchases, she scooped the coins out of her pocket and placed them on the counter. He was so grateful and humbled. My friend from church routinely drives another lady home since she lost her driver’s licence due to failing eyesight.
These are all tickets to heaven in my opinion.