Jane Comes Out Of The Closet And Then, She Confesses

Wait.

Reverse that.

First, I’m going to confess. Then we’ll get to that other thing.

Remember that RAOK post that garnered so much attention? And then I commented on the comments and challenged myself to take it a step further?

Well. I slept on it. And in the morning my challenge sounded a bit….impossible. And improbable. 

Let me explain.

I decided, in my spontaneous and do-gooder charged wisdom, to attempt a random act of kindness every day (or at least weekly) and then post about it on a separate tab on my blog.

Sounded good at the time.

And then I thought…how random is random if I’m planning on doing it?  And what if, by 10 o’clock at night, when I’m tired and spent and ready to go to bed, I haven’t done anything especially random? What about all the other kind activities I do daily, without even thinking about it? Helping a woman with a stroller or holding doors open or reaching something high on a shelf for someone in the grocery store or the random snail mail cards I send to friends and family far away or letting that poor woman with five kids go ahead of me at Target because I’ve managed to procure a blissful hour alone to shop?

That’s my life. I do little bits of random every single day.

Or what about the bigger acts of kindness that I participate in? Volunteering at my kid’s school. Making dinner for someone who: had a recent death in the family, had a baby, extended illness, just moved to the neighborhood or is moving away. Watching out for an elderly neighbor. Or, how, whenever we bake I always split it and share with a neighbor or friend.

A dear neighbor recently said to me, “I can always count on you!” And she’s right. I may not always have my full heart into it (because I’m human and have a busy, full life) but I find it very difficult to say “no” to someone in need.

And then I started thinking about the two or three comments (out of 200) that criticized my good deed. (Isn’t it funny how we always focus on the negative no matter how inconsequential they may be?)  They felt that forking over $3.18 to “help” someone who was already prepared to fork over $3.18 for an overpriced coffee was self-indulgent and frivolous. That it only made the giver feel good about giving something that wasn’t necessary in the first place. Do I really want to invite more criticism, no matter how far and few between?

And that mildly annoyed me. Because we ‘re talking about kindness. Bringing a smile to a stranger’s face. Who cares if the person was prepared to pay for it anyway? I know, when it happened to me in the drive-thru – when some sweet woman paid for my coffee three summers ago and the cashier handed me  a “Moms Rock!” scribbled on a napkin as way of explanation from the anonymous giver, I looked in the rearview mirror at my feisty, fighting 3 and 4-year-old boys and thought, “Thank you, dear sweet woman for a little joy today!”

Which brings me to this.

Joy.

One of you out there once told me that some weeks, it’s hard to find joy. I thought, oh goodness, how sad. A whole week without joy. I find joy in every day – no matter how small. I’m not saying it’s easy. Some days I have to look. Real hard. But I find it. So, I challenged myself to document joy every day.

And I’m doing that……here. At Every Day Joy. Have been for 251 days now. I’ve kept it very, very quiet. I’ve been doing it for me. To make sure that every day I stop and recognize the bounty that is my life. I’m only sharing it here with you now to say….

Random acts of kindness should be random. I shouldn’t plan for it. I shouldn’t schedule them.

And that challenge to myself helped me to take stock of my life and realize each day is chock full to the brim. With taking care of children and a husband. With lots of dear friends and some family. I try, each day, to be thoughtful, compassionate and considerate.  I practice kindness. Both deliberately and randomly. Both have their place and purpose.

There it is. Out of the closet.

I say things I sometimes have to take back.

And.

I have a quiet, secret little blog about celebrating joy.

That’s not so secret anymore.

26 Comments

Filed under Growing Up, Lessons Learned

26 responses to “Jane Comes Out Of The Closet And Then, She Confesses

  1. That’s just a pity! I mean, such a joyful blog and you’ve been hiding it for over 250 days. It reminds me that, indeed, joy doesn’t have to be limited to big things – presents, or a magnificent view during travels. It’s there in the small things. I tend to forget (young as I am :/) – thanks for reminding me.

  2. Steven Harris

    Those negative commenters are deluding themselves. Of course there is a mini-payoff for us if we indulge in acts of kindness (random or otherwise) but that’s not the reason we do them. We do them because we’re more interested in enabling other people to feel a moment of joy or warmth in a world that can sometimes seem too big and cold. And to feel connected. Life is not an isolated experience so of course we’ll experience emotions about such RAOK too. How arctic and remote would we have to be not to? Congratulations on coming out of the closet anyway. 😀

  3. angelcel

    The people who tried to detract from your RAOK clearly need more joy in their lives …maybe you should have pointed them in the direction of your other blog. 😉

  4. So important for each of us to remember the good (even if it’s tiny and hard to find) in each day. Love your joy blog! And that you did it just for you!

  5. Just checked out the other blog and it is so sweet! I cannot believe you didn’t disclose it earlier, but at the same time it is cool that you kept it “secret”. It means that you really are the amazing person we all know you to be. You aren’t looking to say, “Look over here at me doing something great!” You are doing it because that is what you do, that’s the type of person you are.

    So excited to follow both blogs now 🙂

  6. I agree whole-heartedly with Cammy’s comment above. This “secret” blog just proves how truly amazing and wonderful and kind you are! Thanks for letting us in on your secret. I think it is so wonderful!

  7. You sneaky little minx!!! 🙂 Off to discover some more joy from Jane!

  8. You sneaky little minx!! I’m grinning! I’m off to visit the Joy!

  9. Megs

    I’m looking forward to reading Every Day Joy – it always seems people in general are far too easy to complain and moan at the bad and not celebrate the good. So good on you 🙂

  10. Every Day Joy looks like a very bright spot to visit each day .. thanks for sharing your blogging secret.

    A thought … If you don’t want to totally give up on the random acts of kindness list … maybe you could turn it around and report on the random acts of kindness you witness others doing?

  11. Talking about RAOK is okay… in fact, it’s great; it reminded me to focus on that a little. =)

  12. Great post, again. Don’t worry about those nay-sayers. They clearly do not understand the joy of giving. That woman clearly appreciated that $3.18 cup of coffee during the rough times she was having. Who knows what you have inspired in her.

  13. Wow. People criticized your act of kindness? Seriously? I find that a little appalling.

    Frankly, I’m not in a position to be generous financially, but that didn’t stop me a few weeks ago when I was too beat to cook, my boys weren’t back in town yet, and I walked to a nearby sandwich shop with a $5 special, and forked over a ten for one huge sandwich I knew I could live off of for two or three meals.

    In walks a homeless man, who asks the guy behind the counter if he can do any work for a sandwich. “I’ve got nothing today,” he replies. I raised an eyebrow, and the sandwich shop owner jumped in with “I help him out when I can, but I just don’t think I should do it every day.”

    I nodded (sounds reasonable), and then said – “Keep my ten, and let him have the other five for whatever sandwich he wants.”

    The owner called to the homeless man who was lingering by the door. I took my sandwich and left, as the man was ordering his.

    Should I have done that? One could argue yes or no, but I never considered not doing it. Any more than I would question acts of kindness or humanity that each of us performs daily – with or without the explicit intention to do so.

    I think awareness of opportunities to be kind is essential. Attempting to force ourselves to seek them out and live them does deny the realities in our own lives – the giving we do routinely, as you said – to family, friends, neighbors.

    • Good for you! He was willing to work for the sandwich – I see nothing wrong with what you did.

    • Can you imagine… if every one person (who could) helped out one other person in need daily/weekly/monthly whatever, how quickly some of these economic and social problems would be resolved? Leaving the helping to government and religious organizations takes the onus off humanity for humanity and leaves us, I think, a little less human. I’m going to work on this more myself (even though I feel like I’m scrambling most months myself to get caught up). Thanks. =)

  14. PS. Just went to your “joy” blog (how delicious). SO glad you’re out of the closet! But thought I’d mention that without opening up Name/URL as a commenting option, people like yours truly with a dot com can’t comment.

    And who wouldn’t like to indulge in daily joy?

  15. What motivates me to keep doing more, is it feels good. I have clients who can more than pay for their own services…expect to pay for them…and yet from time to time I comp those services because it always surprises them and it always makes me feel good. This is a bad thing? This morning was not great until someone waved me in front of them when I missed my turn…he smiled at me and gave me a thumbs up instead of his middle finger. My day got a whole lot better. I bet his did to.
    When I feel Joy, I share Joy, more Joy comes back to me. When I read your joy post…I felt more appreciation for my own life..”Celebrating Joy” what a wonderful idea.

  16. “They felt that forking over $3.18 to “help” someone who was already prepared to fork over $3.18 for an overpriced coffee was self-indulgent and frivolous. That it only made the giver feel good about giving something that wasn’t necessary in the first place. Do I really want to invite more criticism, no matter how far and few between?”

    I had to go back and read that about three times, just to make sure I was reading it correctly. It boggles my mind that people can be so critical and negative, especially when someone else is just trying to spread a little kindness and happiness. It makes me sad.

    All the same, your blog always makes me happy. And I have no doubt that you are always spreading “random” kindness.

  17. i recently wrote about joy on my blog and mentioned that joy should be simple and easy. It’s not something you have to work hard for or feel nervous about (like Love, Passion, or Adoration). I agree, it should be VERY possible to find joys in each and every day… I’m glad you’re keeping track of these joys so that at the end of each day, you can smile as you recall them.

  18. This must be National Coming Out Day. I did that on my blog today and now that I see this, I had to laugh. I’m so glad you outed your other blog – it’s wonderful! Something we all should do for ourselves every day. I love that you have been doing this and are just now sharing it with us. How very sneaky (and cool).

    I can’t fathom those who feel the need to throw a wet blanket – here you are trying to be kind, and instead of either commending you or just clicking on, they felt the need to make you second guess your kindness. That’s just rude. And small of them.

    But I’m glad that through this little experience you were able to see how very full of loveliness you already are. Not your words, I know. They’re mine. Because it’s true.

  19. You rock. People who criticize people for trying to be kind? Do not rock. End of story.

  20. Carol

    Thank you for this post. I was thinking about random acts of kindness, feeling a bit critical of myself because I haven’t done any – I thought. Until you mentioned all those little random acts that really are kindnesses and realized, oh but I do. I just don’t catalog them or think about them. I just do them. So thank you – for this moment, I like me a bit better now.

  21. How can any one criticize your act of kindness? Some people have to throw rocks at everything. I think it was awesome.

  22. Love that you have this joyful blog going on. And, practicing kindness “both deliberately and randomly” is lovely…down with the haters~

  23. Oh how neat, Jane! I’m glad I went back to catch up on all these posts — I would have missed this otherwise. Heading over to check out the joy 🙂

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