My son likes to say, “Hallmark isn’t the boss of me.” The obligatory cards for birthdays and Mother’s Day aren’t his thing. Which is fine by me every time the door bell rings and a smiling delivery person presents me with a bouquet of flowers when I answer the door. This bouquet’s accompanying card said “Committing a random act of foliage. Love, Dave.”

This latest random bouquet arrived last Friday, the afternoon of THE wedding of the century. I’d risen at a reasonable time to watch the Tivoed BBC telecast and had enjoyed dishing with friends and store clerks about the event, especially the fashions. But April 29th was a date already memorable in my personal calendar. Although the date typically slips by each year without my notice, this year it was hard to ignore with all the royal wedding hoopla. April 29th marked the 43rd anniversary of my father’s death. To receive a “random act of foliage” that day was an especially sweet gift of grace.

That loving randomness reminded me of a similar gift received nearly twenty years ago. During a time of great turmoil, my husband and I were having dinner at a restaurant we frequent weekly. It had been a very difficult day and I was pouring out my anguish about feeling betrayed by people I thought were more able to discern the truth of a chaotic situation. In the midst of my heartbreak, our favorite waitress stepped up to our table although we were not seated in her section. Susan and I enjoyed a love of unusual earrings and we frequently shared our latest finds with one another. This evening, she simply laid a pair of long dangling cowry shell earrings before me and said, “I saw these while shopping and thought of you.” I thanked her with composed sincerity, but burst into tears as soon as she stepped away.  A random act of grace during a moment of deep woundedness.

On the other hand, I participated in a random act the Christmas following my father’s death when my mother couldn’t bring herself to decorate for the holidays – something I couldn’t bear. I found the scrawniest Christmas tree imaginable, invited neighbors to create handmade ornaments, then decorated and delivered it to my mom as we sang Christmas carols around her front door. She was astonished and delighted. It transformed the season for her, and me, as she invited neighbor after neighbor in to see the Charlie Brown Christmas tree created by her crazy daughter and her friends. 

Have you ever received a random act of foliage…or kindness…or grace? Have you ever participated in such a random act? Have you ever had a difficult day or season transformed by such a random gift? If you were to commit a random act of some sort, what would it be? Who would it be for? How would/will your life be different for having done so?

Create a word picture to share as a comment. I can hardly wait!

6 comments to Random

  • Barbara McNutt

    I love you’re creative thinking which has such profound impacts!

  • my father of blessed memory did these random acts of kindness everyday of his life
    and brought much joy to those around him, those he knew and those he did not.
    one very cold day i was walking down the main street of our small town and a shivering beggar asked him for alms. he took the cashmere sweater which was slung carelessly around his neck and gave it to the man. i was shocked and queried his action, but he replied that the man needed it more than he did and was welcome to the warmth. that i took as a big learning curve and have tried to do those random acts daily in my life. not only of things but of kind acts too. thankyou for sharing this idea with us lynne.

  • Patricia Conder McWane

    You are awesome. Thanks for your weekly Random Acts of blessings & inspiration. We all need Random Acts from titme to time (sometimes daily). This is a grat reminder of how the little things do mean alot. I am so greatful that God’s Grace is not random, but constant. Happy Mother’s Day; your not my Mom but a great mentor like my Mom.

    Patricia, to be compared to your mother as a mentor is a great compliment and a treasured blessing!

  • Robin Rice

    I try to fill my day with random acts of kindness, no matter how small. The easiest one is when shopping. Clerks routinely ask “How’s your day?” with a vacant stare. I have taken to approaching the cash register and immediately saying “How is your day going?” with eye contact and true sincerity. There is a look of surprise and then a smile, followed by an honest answer. If the clerk remains a little vague I follow up with “Just started your shift or almost done?” or “Have fun plans after work?” I think this works to brighten the day of someone who stands there and is not seen as another human being all day long. Suddenly they feel noticed. When I leave I always follow up with a “Hey, thanks!” or “Nice chatting with you.”
    On my facebook page one of my friends was lamenting that common courtesy has died. I don’t think it has. I watch my children hold doors, even offer to carry a heavy bag for total strangers. My heart glows when I see that my young adult children know how to use tiny random acts of kindness every day. If that is the only thing I have been able to teach them about life (I don’t really think it is), well then, I am happy.
    The personal acts of kindness described by Lynn are so important. I love the focus – don’t rely on Hallmark to remind you of those your are important in your life. I am going to go out and buy some flowers to take to my writing class teacher tonight!

  • Deanna J Bowling

    I have fibromyalgia “fibro”, and one of the symptoms of “fibro” for me is Sensory Overload. Sometimes sensory overload serves me well, because for one thing it allows me to be very aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, though, the sensory overload is quite a burden.

    I have a friend named Kerry who I worked with for 17 years. With both of us having sensory overload, and having known each other for such a long time, we knew each other too well. While we working together, and either one of us was upset, the other would know. There were times that we literally had to stay out of each other’s workspace, because the other was not ready to be “exposed” at the moment. Then when things would settle down, we would get together and talk out whatever was going on.

    I don’t have that deep a relationship with anyone these days, but at the time that I did, one type of a random act was to leave the other person to themselves when they were hurting that badly, to give them enough room to work out what they needed to without being so very “exposed”.

  • Deanna J Bowling

    My mom worked as a waitress when my dad’s wages wouldn’t cover the bills. I remember the long hours she worked, how diligent she was about her appearance, how she would always go the “extra mile” to take care of her customers.

    Mom used her meager wages to help pay the bills, and her tips to feed us. I get razed about doing so, but I always try to give a little extra tip whether I am at Subway or La Cabana. For I appreciate having a roof over my head, and some food in my belly, and I know others do too.

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