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