Tag Archives: flowers

Day 25: Give Flowers to a Hospice Patient

“The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.” –Gandhi

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Hospice is an organization that provides care for terminally-ill patients and their families. They help to meet the emotional and spiritual needs of the dying with compassion, dignity, and respect. Nothing I could do for this random act of kindness could come close to the kindness Hospice employees must display on an everyday basis. It’s a level of compassion I aspire to attain.

I recently contacted the Hospice near my apartment and asked them what would be a nice, small gift to give one of the patients. The receptionist that I spoke with gave me a few suggestions: cards, bright flowers, a food basket (for the family that visits if not for the patient), and personal care items like nice lotions or a warm, fuzzy blanket. Since I didn’t know who the recipient of my gift would be prior to arriving at Hospice I opted for flowers.

I selected the brightest bouquet I could find at the store and put it in a vase. Oliver and I then drove to Hospice eager to (hopefully) brighten a patient’s day. More than giving someone flowers, I was looking forward to just saying hello. Maybe be that cheerful smile or a listening ear.

When we arrived at Hospice I showed the receptionist the flowers and asked her if she could point me in the direction of someone who might like some company. She said she thought it would be best if she delivered the flowers for me, so Oliver and I left the gift with her and took off. I was a little disappointed that we weren’t getting to deliver it ourselves, but then realized the disappointment I was feeling was for me, not for the patient.

I had to remind myself that I’m not doing kind things for my benefit. I’m not doing them so I can be witness to the reactions of others. It’s nice see that, don’t get me wrong, but acting with kindness only when I benefit is more self-indulgence than kindness.

True kindness is completely selfless. It is a hope, a wish, that I am making someone’s day a little brighter, even though I may never see it unfold.

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Day 1: Leave Flowers on the Doorstep of a Neighbor

“Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give.” ― Ben Carson

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Well, it’s finally here. Today is day one of my 29 days of kindness.

I have the same feeling that you get at the beginning of a new relationship. It’s a mix of nerves and excitement. I’m looking forward to see what the next 29 days has in store, to see where this experiment will take me. But I’m nervous to be putting myself out there; I’m nervous about the potential for misunderstandings and confusion, for skeptical looks from my recipients.

Being kind shouldn’t be complicated, but sometimes it feels that way. I don’t know that we live in a world where everyday acts of kindness are the norm, so it will be interesting to see how people respond.

To ease my way into it, I started with an act that didn’t leave me face to face with my recipient: I left a vase of flowers on a neighbor’s doorstep.

I live in an apartment complex. At the end of my building lives a young couple. I see them regularly on my daily walks, and we always say “hello” to each other and smile, otherwise I know very little about them beyond what the exterior of their apartment tells me. Thankfully, it tells me one thing loud and clear: someone that lives there likes plants.

Now an apartment place is nowhere near the ideal gardening environment, but this couple has managed to turn the corner of the building into a miniature botanical garden. I’m incredibly impressed, especially since this is the result of my sole attempt at plant care and maintenance since living here:

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I can grow fake plants like a champ!

My 1-year-old son Oliver helped me pick out the festive fall flowers from the local grocery store. Add in a mini scarecrow and a little butterfly (leftover decorations from my wedding) and it was a pretty cute arrangement.

The card attached reads “You are the recipient of a RAOK (random act of kindness).” It then follows with the quotes:

“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” –Mother Teresa

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These cute cards are courtesy of the website Thirty Handmade Days. I plan on attaching one to each act of kindness, when possible, and then writing my own “29 random acts of kindness” tag along with the number of the recipient. For example, today was #1.

I felt like a stealth ninja when it came time to drop the flowers off on the doorstep. I waited until I saw the couple take off for a jog and then sprinted over to make the drop before they returned.

I was kind of bummed when I realized I wouldn’t get to see their reaction to the flowers, but then I remembered an important thing about this project, about being kind. We don’t do nice things for the potential joy it has to bring to us, we do it because we want to bring joy to another. And today I hope I did just that.

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