Making the Most of the Day-to-Day

The kindness of strangersAre you back into the full-swing of the day-to-day? It’s hard to believe that the holidays and New Year’s are only two weeks behind me as I write this. In fact, my granddaughters just went back to school after a three week holiday break. Even the Church has a name for this time: Ordinary Time. Leave it to the Church to make something we spend most of the year in sound as blah and uninteresting as possible.

The thing about the day-to-day is that there is nothing extraordinary about it. It’s routine and regular. Normal, for whatever that vague word is worth. For most of us, it conjures up boring and lifeless. That’s why so many manufacture drama to give themselves a sense of “life” and action, albeit not a healthy approach.

In the movie The Hobbit, Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) is having a conversation with Gandalf (Sir Ian Fleming), the wise wizard. He offers this:

Saruman (good wizard gone bad through the corruption of power) believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I’ve found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay… small acts of kindness, and love.

There is so much hope and truth in Gandalf’s words. If we had to rely on the mostly-white millionaire men in power (like those in the U.S. Congress), we’d be lost in despair. In fact, I have to limit my political news intake because it is so disheartening and disconnected from our day-to-day. It really is incumbent on us ordinary folk to live our lives from a place of kindness and love … exactly what our faith instructs and inspires in us.

We can always do more, but here is a list of 10 minor acts of kindness we can easily do in our day-to-day lives:

1. Smile and make eye contact with everyone you see.

2. Let someone merge into your lane of traffic, even if they don’t use their turn indicators. Oh, and use yours when turning or changing lanes.

3. Open the door for a mother with a stroller or hold the door for the elderly person behind you.

4. Say “Good morning” to the person in the elevator or the person standing with you in line.

5. Give a homeless person your doggie bag.

6. Put a coin in someone’s expired parking meter.

7. Ask someone how she’s really doing, then really listen to her response.

8. Put your shopping cart back in its place.

9. Say “please” and “thank you” often and always – and really mean it.

10. Throw away your trash – and someone else’s – when you leave the park, parking lot, or movie.

And a bonus act: say, “I love you” to someone you love.

Small everyday deeds done in the day-to-day by ordinary folk do keep the darkness at bay.

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