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Random Acts of Kindness

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The success of the system is dependent on us believing them –

‘that we are all enemies and cannot trust one another
we are all competing for the same piece of pie
that we are not safe’.

What if we stopped believing this?
What if we met our assumed foes with the voice of friendship and our fears with courage and trust?

As we stand poised on the brink of yet another year
with the same power in the same places
and  Zimbabwe under the threat of yet another election and the accompanying intimidation and violence

we wait
as the leadership juggles around their personal advantages against what might happen
. . . if the choice to was given to the people (god forbid)

It can look pretty dark out there

But what we see depends on where we look.
Perhaps if we choose where look more carefully we can see the next steps in the journey

Two stories have given this year a certain impetus for me:

One from my niece, Hayley, who teaches at a junior girls school in England

‘……they are from a very wealthy section of London society – it’s a private school with small classes so they get lots of individual attention, and I often want them to understand how lucky they are – not so that they feel guilty but more so that they become aware of how they can help others. And so I introduced R.A.C.K to my class – Random Acts of Care and Kindness. I made a paper bunting strip that hung at the back of my class and told the girls that every time they did something nice for someone else they could write it on one of the paper triangles from a particular box and I’d hang it up. They quickly got the idea and within two weeks the string was full, so I added more on two sides of my room… and they filled up too.

None of the good deeds are very dramatic but they are sweet – helping a neighbour wash his car, getting a box on a high shelf for an elderly person in a supermarket etc.

The thing is, these girls have decided that they love helping others. They understand that a smile and friendly greeting go a long way. In fact before Christmas when the whole school walked across the town to the local church for a carol concert practice, the whole procession was held up by my class chatting to the homeless guy outside Marks and Spencer’s who was selling The Big Issue. It made my heart sing!

And slowly, the girls are changing the world one smile at a time.’

The other was an event offered by Barbara, Jonathan and Sam, who celebrated the birthday of their friend  Carrie, in South Africa:

‘Carrie is one of those generous souls who do things like (to quote her) – “dancing the whole night through until sunrise (preferably in a small, hot shebeen in Nairobi), baking cookies for your neighbours, going to a dinner party and spending the entire evening playing with the children, paying the toll for the car behind you, stopping to help someone stuck on the side of the road (even though you know NOTHING about car mechanics), giving someone an unexpected present, eating an entire box of chocolates, deliver a meal to someone in need, spamming your friends with (hopefully) inspirational text messages, organising or attending a demonstration for something you feel passionately about….” You get the idea? ‘

At her request, B, J and S  ‘Did it like Carrie’, by going through the collection of books and DVD’s, and holding an open house  yesterday afternoon with an invitation to us all to come and collect what we would like.  We had tea and caught up with one another, shared stories and began the year in our community in an act of generosity.

Do we look, forever, to the dark out there, to have our fears echoed back at us
or do we walk into it, shining our own?

In the face of whatever is coming – these random acts of generosity carry with them the possibility of something different

and they begin a spiral of patterns that has no know ultimate end.

It calls to me.

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