About a year ago, on the way to visit my 90-year old uncle in the hospital, I stopped at a coffee shop. While waiting for my mocha, I glanced at the shop’s bulletin board and saw a flyer from The Spread Sunshine Gang with the invitation to take what I needed: COURAGE, KINDNESS, HOPE, GRATITUDE, HUMOR, JOY or PEACE.
I chose HOPE.
When I got to the hospital, I passed it on to my aunt even though I knew she didn’t really need it because she—a lifelong Catholic—has her faith.
But me? I’m always seeking reasons to hope.
So, when I got home I signed up for the Spread Sunshine Gang’s newsletter. It now arrives in my inbox every few weeks, a welcome reminder that our Land of 10,000 Lakes is filled with people eager to share their goodness in creative ways and inspire others to do the same.
In addition to their coffee shop flyers, the group’s recent acts of kindness include hosting a holiday party for seniors, participating in a Polar Plunge to raise money for Special Olympics and decorating Loring Park with warm, colorful (and free-for-the-taking!) hats, scarves and mittens.
Their “sunshine” has inspired me to spread my own. Here are three lessons I’ve learned along the way:
Lesson No. 1: Small gestures can have a big impact. Take a smile, for instance. It costs me nothing to give yet can brighten a complete stranger’s day.
Lesson No. 2: Kindness comes in all shapes and sizes. One day it may arrive as a bouquet of bright orange tulips. On another as a warm hug from a friend, an out-of-the-blue postcard from a relative or an unexpected compliment from a colleague.
Lesson No. 3: Communicating love doesn’t require words. This afternoon, I’ll be visiting my uncle and aunt once again. He has recovered enough to be living back at home but spends most afternoons sitting beside my aunt at the assisted-living facility where she now lives after having suffered a stroke.
She won’t be able to say more than a few words, but the way her eyes light up when she sees me fills the room with sunshine and my heart with hope.
Your message of hope reached out and touched my heart, thanks for sharing the beautiful essay.
And thanks for reminding us of the importance of a small gesture. Love, kindness, and hope, three things we all need.
I love the message, Bev, and you conveyed it so eloquently. I, too, will check out The Spread Sunshine Gang. Make it a great day!
Such a beautiful, HOPE-FILLED essay, Bev! Thank you so much for sharing your perspective. We all have the power to make a positive difference in our communities and world. As you so well know, every kind word or deed has a ripple effect that helps to pour much-needed light into this otherwise very murky world. Thank you for making a difference, and keep letting your light shine!
Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Means a lot coming from a fellow writer and uplifter.
Bev, enjoyed reading this. I love the ‘personal’ in it. “But me? I’m always seeking reasons to hope.” I’ll be checking out The Spread Sunshine Gang.