I had to hop on the laptop after 9 hours spent on my feet working today to share this testimony. Up until a random act of kindness war conferred upon me without me expecting it, I was moved to write a quick missive about a woman who moved me with her act of charity. Let me start off this write up with this one statement—this I know to be true above all things—if we want to change the world, we need to do it right in the immediate circle of our existence.
The act that led to this article is probably not that big to most people; most acts of kindness are often overlooked when we are too busy noting the madness and outrages of the world. Except a stranger I struck up a conversation with while waiting in line at a checkout led to her giving a kind gesture that meant a lot to me. When I walked up to isle 4, I notice that she was buying some ice cream. I jokingly told her that I should have walked to another lane for my enemy sugar was staring right into my pupils. I made her laugh the whole time we were in line as I told her that my favorite ice cream, pralines n’ cream, was now beckoning my name as though I was a sailor being cajoled by the sirens.
At some point, she said “heck it’s Saturday, you deserve it, go get some ice cream an I’ll hold your place in line.” I told her if she insists I shall do so but only as an act of sacrifice in order to make sure a customer walked out happy. Yeah right! The ice cream was all about me, I needed about as much coaxing to get ice cream as Donald Trump needs convincing to send out an absurd 3 AM tweet. I walked over to the ice cream isle and picked up a small container of Baskin Robins “Pralines n’ Cream” ice cream. Parenthetically, who the heck is making the decisions on what flavors of ice cream to make? Is there a conspiracy I don’t know of? Pralines n’ Cream is the best ice cream ever invented by mankind—end of discussion! I feel like organizing a march to protest the dearth of pralines n’ cream flavored ice cream.
When I got back to the line, the lady had already left so I just thanked her in my mind for the small conversation we had and the nudge she gave me to get my favorite ice cream. When I went to pay, the cashier said that the lady who just walked out left $5.00 to pay for my ice cream. Now I know that I can be a bit on the emotional side at times, but this random of kindness really touched me. I should be used to this by now, I’ve witnessed endless procession of kindness over the past two years in my time of mind bending hardship. Where the closest to me were not there, hot damn if it was not countless strangers who gave to me without me ever having to beg as angels by way of fellow travelers in this journey called life would bless in ways that lets me know that there is an awesome God watching over me.
I shall eat my Pralines n’ Cream and reflect on the blessing that is abundant around us if we only look for it. Nine months ago, I was still in a dark hole of sorrow and hopelessness. It was the most random act that somebody did for me that lit a fuse which led to my candle bursting with a glow that is now evident. I live on a communal farm for the moment; one day—when I went to check on my clothes in the laundry room—someone took my clothes out of the dryer and folded everything from my pants down to my socks and boxers. That gesture gave me hope where hope was seemingly fading into the far distance. A clothe folder paved the way for me to fold up my sleeves and get to living life fully.
These things are all interconnected. One second a blessing in a laundry room the next second I meet a butterfly who embraced me fully and started to make me believe in love again. I’m a walking testimony of how the smallest gestures can lead to the biggest changes. We keep waiting for the rich and famous, politicians and media stars alike, to give us the change we have been waiting for and to make us feel great again. Too many are convinced a fight needs to be had as they let politics and ideologies get in the way of our common struggles and our common humanity. But only love can drive out hatred as Martin Luther King once said, all is is doing nothing more than contributing to the odium that is consuming this planet.
We are going at it all wrong, the change is within us. If we are in a place of hopelessness, the change can be breathed into us by the random act of a stranger. The change I thought I found in a politician led me to a journey where I had nothing but change left in my pockets. All the sudden, serendipity! A change found me when I stopped looking for it, I have a birabiro and an ice cream as one of many proofs of the change that is possible when we give kindness to each other. #RandomGrace5
“Kindness is the sunshine in which virtue grows.” ~ Robert Green Ingersoll
If you appreciate the message behind this write up and agree that kindness is the change we have been waiting for, share this article on social media using #RandomGrace5
Check out the Ghion Cast below that talks about the change that is within us and the love that resides in our hearts that can change the world and make injustice spin backwards, if only we listen to the voice in our souls that says to us always “Send Me”.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.