An old man and his art.
Each year my mom and dad’s church holds an auction to raise funds for the community projects it supports. My father is an avid fly fisherman who enjoys tying his own flies. In preparation for the auction, my dad spent several weeks tying flies as his donation. Day after day, he carefully created the tiny lifelike insects, and when he finished, he gently placed each in its own section of a plastic box. In the end there were about forty of his handcrafted flies.
Before the auction, my mom told me about my dad’s efforts. I secretly arranged with the auctioneer to be on the phone so I could bid. The big day arrived, and when it was time for my dad’s item, I received a phone call. The bidding started at twenty-five dollars. Of course, I raised that to thirty dollars. It was countered at thirty-five dollars. I quickly bid forty. Apparently, someone in the audience wanted my dad’s creations, too.
The bidding bounced back and forth between the two of us, until at sixty-five dollars I went for it and bid one hundred dollars.
“Going once . . . going twice . . . sold to the mystery caller on the phone,” I heard the auctioneer say. He asked me to hold while he put my dad on the phone. No one in the audience, except Mom, knew who was on the other end of the line until I said, “Hello, Daddy. I’m so glad I got your beautiful flies.” With that, my sweet father burst into tears of joy. He was so happy and surprised to hear it was me on the other end of the line. He turned to the crowd and said, “It’s my daughter from California.” The entire place erupted with applause.
It feels amazing to be in the position to surprise someone with a gift of kind-heartedness that touches both of you. Being kind
creates lasting pleasant memories. And, acts of kindness don’t have to cost anything.
Each day you and I are given countless opportunities to express our good and charitable heart. Regardless of what form they take, the kindness and caring we give others not only help them, they also create positive energy that returns to us in so many different ways.
Kindness connects us to other people, reducing feelings of loneliness and emotional isolation. Caring and generous people attract giving people to them. By being considerate people, we will be liked by others.
Compassion decreases anger and depression and increases positive feelings and our general outlook on life. Being generous, affectionate, and nurturing promotes the release of endorphins that make us happy and calm and improve our sense of well-being.
Acts of generosity and empathy keep us connected to the emotional warmth of our heart. Not only does being kind keep us heart-centered, researchers have found that kindness makes our heart healthier, too, because emotional warmth produces hormones in the brain and throughout the body that help lower blood pressure.
Treating other people as you want to be treated is the foundation of all the world’s religions and spiritual practices. There is a very good reason compassion is so revered. The energy we put out is returned to us. No always but mostly.
So, freely offer your shoulder for someone to cry on, your arms to hold someone safe, and a friendly ear to listen. Each act of kindness you give will come back to you.