Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Purpose Driven Acts

Sitting down to write about the many touching and wonderful acts of kindness shared with us today, I realized, unlike most, these weren't random at all.  Sure, the people who received them might have been random (although not in all cases) but I believe that even the recipients were chosen - with a little help from above.  Austin's hands were all over this project from the moment it came upon me.

Since the first year the acts and those participating have grown.  This year even strangers joined in!  It's such an amazing feeling, in the midst of heartache, to see my son remembered in this way.  I know personally each act I gave this month was after a gentle nudge or whisper from within.  For the large majority, I'll have no way of knowing who they reached, how they helped or made a difference, but I feel like each of them were with purpose. 

And "with purpose" is exactly how Austin lived.  Though only 14 when he passed, he'd accomplished so much in his life.  Age was never a factor for him and more than anything he just wanted to make a difference.  He was never happier than when he was volunteering and helping others.  In fact, the few months he had here as a freshman was filled with afternoons at local organizations doing just that.  But aside from being a volunteer, he was just a good soul.  My idea and need to start "Acts of Kindness" in his memory came from who he was and how he treated others.  His "words of kindness" I shared two years ago, and "love letters" show a glimpse of who Austin was and the impact he made each and every day with simple acts.

Living the month of November, such a bleak and normally painful for time, with an attitude of gratefulness and opening myself up to see opportunities to help, has made me feel more connected to Austin than I could have ever imagined.  Hearing the stories from others who joined with me, lifted my spirits, comforted and held me on difficult days, and not only blessed our families but the recipients.  However, everyone who shared with me an act has told me they received tremendous blessings as well.  How great is that?!

"It is one of those beautiful compensations of this life that no one can
sincerely try to help another without helping himself."

Didn't find the time or moment to do an act of kindness?  The best thing about acts of kindness is that there is no expiration date...it's never too late to make a difference!  Maybe some of these "acts" shared with us will inspire you to pay it forward.  Or, maybe they'll just warm your heart - they truly did mine!

I helped someone load their groceries.
I paid for someone's purchase and met a new friend!
I made a meal and shared it with a widow.
I donated to Toys for Tots.
I went through the Drive-Thru and left money for the next few cars behind me.
I paid on someone's bill.
I tucked quarters in the jacket pockets at a department store for kids to find.
I bought a stranger's gas.
I surprised strangers with gift cards for their meals.
I thanked people who don't normally get thanked.
I bought supplies to make Thanksgiving baskets for families in need.
I prayed for the person in front of me whenever stopped in traffic.
I volunteered at a nursing home.
I tucked surprises into Christmas cards when sending this year.
I placed coins on game machines and kiddy rides.

My family would like to thank those for the many prayers, calls, texts,
messages and support shared with us on this painful day.
I've certainly felt held by the prayers and lifted by the
amazing stories of acts of kindness done in Austin's memory.
Thank you for your friendship...and for remembering our sweet boy in such a beautiful way!


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