Monday, December 6, 2010

Words of Hope and Kindness.


Have you heard of The Brave Girls Club? I hadn't either, until a week or so ago. It was started by two sisters out in Idaho and you can read about them here.
A few days before Thanksgiving, I read a post that made me stop and think. It was a simple thing really, a challenge to go out and give strangers a little strip of paper with words of hope and kindness on them. How hard could that be? So, armed with my kindness messages (that I printed from here), I went to work on Black Friday prepared to share. I thought it would be better if I eased into this project by giving them to people I know first. So, I stuffed my apron pocket full of paper and randomly, throughout the morning, asked my friends to reach in for a happy thought. It was wonderful to see the reactions as they read their strips of paper! So much so, that I spread out the project to the customers. But, it all came to a halt when Nathan walked in the shop! I left with my pocket still packed with paper strips.
Last Thursday, Nathan, my friend, Cilla, and I went out shopping for Christmas gifts for Cilla's party. I was armed with my strips of paper, determined to share them with complete strangers and wish them a Merry Christmas. Our target location was Wal Mart.
It took me a minute to bring myself to walk up to a perfect stranger and ask them if they would like a "happy thought". There were a few who said no, looking at me as though I was crazy. But there were also those who gladly accepted them and rewarded me with a big smile or a hug. These positive moments spurred me on to complete my task. I gave half of the strips to Cilla, with the challenge to give all of them away. She did.
There was one woman, an employee that I nearly walked by, who touched me in a most profound way. I turned around and said to her, "I think you need a happy thought." "You know, I do.", was her reply and she chose her strip of paper. Quiet. Then, tears, as she showed me what it said-
You can be brave. You can do difficult things. It will be worth it!. 
Her next statement shocked me. "My son was murdered last Friday. You don't know how much I needed this. I come to work because I can't stay home."  Tears. More tears. A hug for a woman I didn't know but was compelled to give as I thought of my son coming home that same day. My joy, her loss combined together in a moment that is truly beyond description. I will remember her forever.
Cilla and I have plans to go out with pockets full of little strips of paper again. And again. The feeling that comes from doing such a simple thing is better than shopping for presents. So, go. Be brave. Make some one's day. You'll be better for it. Promise.

9 comments:

Thimbleanna said...

Wow. You're my hero. That sounds so wonderful. The story of the lady brought tears to my eyes -- sooo, sad. You're an angel!

Whimsey Creations said...

What a wonderful idea! Thanks so much for sharing it.

Colleen - the AmAzINg Mrs. B said...

Oh. My. Goodness! This is wonderful! I will do this as I receive daily messages from the brave girls club..and I forward them on to my granddaughter and my DIL as they need uplifting right now!

The Feathered Nest said...

Karin, this is so wonderful!!!! I just love the idea ~ the world need more kindness...I try smiling at strangers and people look at me like I have three heads, what is that? You must have so lifted the woman up that lost her son, I hope you are staying cozy, the old farmhouse seems like it's gonna blow off the hill lately!! hugs and love, Dawn

Deborah Jean said...

Hi Karen,
I just read about the Brave Girls club too! They remind me a bit of Mary Jane's Farm sisterhood.
Love your courage and the willingness to see it through, share with friends and strangers...
Thanks for this!
Debora Jean~

Halle said...

What a wonderful story! Sometimes all someone needs is a smile, an acknowledgment that they matter. I have a good friend that called me up a week or so after we talked to thank me for telling her that "she mattered". As simple as it sounds..just hearing it from someone outside your circle means a lot.

Karen Miller said...

Thanks for sharing. I've printed out the messages and I will start handing them out tomorrow at Red Hat and then on to people I don't know.

Cathy ~ Tadpoles and Teacups said...

Oh my goodness...what a touching story.

Sew Create It - Jane said...

What a wonderful story...thank you for sharing it!