There is a woman who lives in my former town of Athens, Ohio. She makes the most delicious smelling soap and is pretty famous, although she would never admit to it.
Her name is Space and her company is playfully called Space Cadet Soaps. Space recently shared her musings on kindness after receiving an unexpected thank you note in the mail. I knew I had to pass her thoughts on to you.
“Today I received one of the best letters I’ve ever gotten. It was from a mom in Wisconsin who has been wanting to hunt me down for about a decade, maybe even a little more, to tell me ‘thank you,’ and she finally did it.
“A while back, her barely-grown son (who is now almost 32) had left home and was traveling the country, without a phone, when we met him. I don’t recall the exact circumstances, but I imagine we brought him home for a night or two, because we often did that sort of thing.
“He was kind of just bailing on life, or at least life at home. His parents’ marriage had fallen apart about the time he turned 18, so when other kids were going to college, he hit the road to escape.
“He wasn’t all that concerned about letting his worried mama know he was still alive. This touches two nerves with me. First, he was the oldest of three sons, which means this mama and I have something substantial in common. Second, I was a little bit of a flake at calling my parents when I was traveling the country, and I regretted it.
“I am glad I advised him to keep in touch with his mama, even though I don’t actually remember doing it. Even more so, I’m glad he took my advice.
“Here’s why I love this letter so much: because it reminds me that we often have no clue the kind of footprints we are leaving behind us, or how our lives are transforming history. I don’t suppose I thought too-awful-much about whether or not this fellow was going to take my advice, and I’m sure the advice wasn’t premeditated. I was just going about my business of loving God and man.
“I have spent plenty of wasted hours overthinking how to bless others and had far less of an impact than this one obscure detail of my life, that I honestly don’t even remember. The letter from this mom reflects exactly who I want to be. I want to be someone who just litters grace wherever I go.
“The truth is, we don’t usually do that by premeditation, we do that by walking hand-in-hand with God, who blesses the world around us far more than we ever could.”
What if we all took a lesson from Space and started littering grace wherever we went?
We could clean up the messes of this world in no time. No soap required.
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at email@example.com. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND, 58107.