When we think about our purpose in life, it's tempting to want to list impressive goals and accomplishments.
We want to know we are here for a reason and that we will make an impact in the world.
Discovering a new cancer drug, for example, or joining the Peace Corps, or giving an inspirational workshop forges a meaningful path and purpose for a select few.
But what of the rest of us with less definable ways of making an impact?
At one point or another, most of us question our purpose. Have I set the bar for my life too low? Too high? Am I doing what I came here to do? Does my life matter?
The thing is, regardless of our perceived station in life, it’s okay to reach for the stars. It's not too much to ask to want to change the world.
And we can - when we remember we can wield the transformative power of kindness.
I know. It sounds like a small thing. But don't make the mistake of underestimating this superpower of virtues.
Last year, when running errands in the nearest city about twenty miles from the cabin where I wrote the book, I found myself for the first time at Walgreens when my supermarket pharmacy did not have my prescription.
There were many people in line, and I resigned myself (complete with an exasperated exhale) for a long wait at the end of a long day.
But something was very different here. The energy was incredibly…happy.
There were four women behind the counter; two taking orders and two filling them. They were constantly checking in with each other—pharmacists assisting cashiers and vice-versa.
They were upbeat and friendly with one another, and most wonderfully, they were especially kind to their customers.
They noticed if someone wasn’t feeling well and tried to expedite their order. They took care to listen well to each customer and to be patient in answering questions.
Next thing I knew, all of us who were waiting in line began to acknowledge one another - smiling a bit, complimenting an outfit, remarking on the weather.
Someone even let someone else go ahead of them in line.
The kindness that the ladies were showing to us, and to each other, was contagious.
And the walls of separation that we carried with us into the store came down in the presence of this kindness.
Some months later, I had to fill another prescription, and of course I went to the Kind Walgreens.
The same four women were there, and once again, they were rockin’ the line with kindness and joy.
And, no lie, the same thing happened.
We who were in line or waiting in chairs began to chat, with compassion and smiles spreading from one to the next, faster than a virus.
We have learned from research that people who witness acts of kindness are more likely to show kindness to others, but it was a special gift to see it playing out in a humble line at a neighborhood store. Who knew?
The ladies at the Walgreens were changing the world with the power of kindness.
And so can we.
In The World:
In The Heart:
This post is an edited compilation of several pages from Every Day Spirit: A Daybook of Wisdom, Joy and Peace.