FULL TRANSPARENCY: I've been struggling.
A little over two and a half years ago I moved, with my husband and three kids, from a town called Niceville (you can't make this stuff up), to New York City. I threw myself into the whole made-for-TV scenario, got the kids into great schools, helped my husband get his office going and focused on creating a happy, well adjusted life for our family. The truth is, while my family has absolutely flourished here, it's been a challenge for me, personally. I love living in NYC. I am the strange breed who loves the people, the craziness, the fast pace, the excitement, the opportunities. I ride the subway and look at everyone around me, trying to discern their situation in life. I watch the man nodding off on the train and the mom with the fussy toddlers and say a quick prayer for them in the midst of their burdens. I smile at people (which admittedly freaks some out, I am certain). I try to make sure I always have spare change in my wallet for the homeless vet sleeping on the corner and the talented young musician busking on the platform. Being around the brokenness of humanity makes me aware of life; the good, the bad and the ugly. I feel alive and happy here.
Life in a city of 8 million is also challenging, especially when your mission is Intentional Kindness and so many only seem to care about that sort of thing during the holidays when it's all about Good Will Toward Men. I've often felt like I'm shouting into the void in this city, trying to make a real difference but only really making tiny dents wherever I go. The best part of course, is the wonderful, kind people I do meet along the way. The ones who, like me, leave their own tiny dents in their own beautiful, often overlooked ways.
I was just telling this very thing to a dear, smart friend visiting from out of town, and she asked me why I don't share those stories on my blog. The ones about the cab drivers and cashiers, the police officers and the fellow subway passengers. The ones who inspire and encourage me in this great big, busy city. And suddenly I was reminded of what I already know and tell people all the time: We rise by lifting others.
So that is exactly what I am going to do. I am going to start sharing the stories of kindness that I see everyday with you. Real stories of real people being really kind in the world. I hope you'll follow along and be encouraged. I believe you'll be able to draw inspiration for your own life and start collecting some easy ways to celebrate your birthdays (and the rest of the year too!).