Big Heart

 In Writer in Residence

Written by: Collette Cottingham; Creatively Hip

I never thought random acts of kindness were something people called “pay it forward,” until high school. I found the term endearing, even the smallest gesture can have a big impact. You should pay kindness forward, kindness is a beautiful gift to receive.

I was raised to volunteer and help others. I learned through watching my parents and grandparents. I enjoy helping, it is a great feeling. I never thought about how my small act was spreading kindness. I knew I was helping someone going through a difficult time and I was grateful I could help.

Then, a few years ago, a series of events left me heartbroken. Physically I looked okay, but emotionally I was broken. I couldn’t get up. I stopped helping others. I couldn’t help myself, so how could I be of any use to others? My kindness was gone. I became a shell of a person. I wasn’t mean, I was just empty inside.

Well, others helped me, even total strangers. I am alive because of random acts of kindness. The graciousness of family, friends and strangers pulled me through.

I want so badly to repay all the tremendous love and kindness I was shown. I have been waiting for someone going through what I went through, but I haven’t found them yet.

Instead, I am spreading love and joy every day through my daily interactions. I know my kind act will be paid forward, even if I just change someone’s mood. Their new mood will brighten someone else’s day.

Kindness and joy are dancing through the air. It is my job to pass this amazing feeling onto others. If you don’t feel like you can make a difference trust me, you can—I am living proof!

Little things like bringing dinner to someone going through a tough time, carrying your neighbors newspaper to their porch or buying food for the food bank. It all helps.

I lost a coworker a few months back. It has left a deep empty space. In the midst of our loss, strangers delivered flowers or called to let us know they cared.

The family he left behind has a huge gaping hole in their life. So many people have stepped in and helped his family, even people who never met him. Seeing all the kindness moved me to tears.

He was a man with a big heart. He was larger than life. Seeing others give with joy in their hearts is a beautiful thing to witness. The kindness he gave is being paid forward even though he is not here.

Kindness moving forward in this world is a ray of light. Good can win—it should always win! We have to make sure “the good” is our primary focus, let the bad stuff go.

We spread kindness every day. A simple act can have a huge impact. I am living proof of that.

I have so much “paying forward” I need to do. I am dancing with happiness. I can’t wait to make you smile!

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