Normally, I do not advertise my random acts of kindness…as I feel that is a little narcissistic to go around bragging about how I have helped people, and I wish for my acts of kindness to mirror this scripture, “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:1-4)
However, with today being the FIFTH anniversary of my decision to begin working on recovery, I’m actually going to reveal some of my acts of kindness…because that is how I chose to honor the day. To celebrate five years since I asked for help in recovering from my eating disorder, I decided to do five random acts of kindness.
I began the day by writing five letters in cards.
The very first card I wrote to the intake eating disorders coordinator at the Lindner Center of Hope. He was the very first medical professional to diagnose me with an eating disorder (most had written me off due to my size) and helped me find my current therapist when we discovered my insurance wouldn’t pay for treatment at Lindner. I also purchased some beautiful flowers to deliver to the clients in the eating disorders program to remind them of the beauty that exists within and around them. The receptionist at the front desk looked a little confused when I dropped off a bouquet of white roses to a man…at a mental health treatment facility. Thankfully, she took the flowers, and said she would let him know that she had them at her desk.
Two cards were to be placed in the eating disorder/self-help section of my local bookstores. I carefully placed the cards between books I have found especially helpful in my recovery (Life Without Ed by Jenni Schaefer and Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia by Marya Hornbacher [some people do find this book very triggering, however, so proceed with caution]) in hopes that they would be found by the people who needed them.
The last two cards were a little bit harder to figure out…inside of each I wrote:
At my favorite coffee house this morning, after paying for a stranger’s latte, I handed her the first card. She seemed a bit alarmed, at first, that a complete stranger would pay for her coffee, and even tried to scan her phone after I had already paid for her. However, she seemed to figure it out once I handed her the card. On my way out of the door, she called after me, “Thanks for my coffee. You made my morning. It’s been a rough day and it isn’t even 9 o’clock.”
The second card, in which I had placed $5, was left in the bathroom of one of my favorite restaurants because I didn’t have the courage to hand it to an actual person. There’s something completely terrifying to me in handing a card to a stranger; let alone accepting one.
When I came back from the bathroom–from completing my fifth random act of kindness–I noticed a Korean war veteran and his wife eating dinner. Being the granddaughter of a Korean war veteran, I have a soft spot in my heart for anyone who served in that war (especially since they might have had the opportunity to meet my grandfather who died six months before I was born). When the waiter dropped off my check to my sister and me, I quietly asked for his check, paid and left. I can only hope this man knows how much I truly appreciate his service.
So, what ended up being five random acts of kindness in honor of my five year anniversary of asking for help, turned into six…and challenged me to actually say something nice about myself on a public platform…made me realize how much I want recovery. I’ve been on this path for five years and cannot wait until I get to “full recovery”. Recovery is REAL! Recovery is POSSIBLE!
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’