Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Is it Christmas yet?

Have you ever noticed that the "Holiday Spirit" only lasts until a few days after Christmas? Why can't the charitable behaviors that are so prevalent during the holidays continue year round?

I've been asking myself this question for the past few weeks. I drive to the town north of me once or twice a week depending on my needs. in this little 30 mile stretch of Freeway, I see more people being rude than kind.

This past week has reminded me that we take things just a tad too serious, and often forget about the things that matter. The funny part of this whole concept was that 5 years ago, I would have been the jackass cutting every person off trying to get to my destination with no concern about others.

In the past week, I've seen more middle fingers than cars, and more harsh words thrown around than on a Navy ship. I've seen more people cut off going 80 MPH than I can even count. Maybe it's the heat that us Northern Californians experience every summer? Maybe the economy has taken every last ounce of patience we have and thrown it out the window (literally and figuratively).

Maybe our society has become so caught up with "What about me??!!" than "what about my fellow human beings". Maybe we've become so accustomed to having things instantly, we no longer appreciate delayed gratification? Maybe people have forgotten the simple concept of a Random Act of Kindness?

As I set the cruise control to 70 on the freeway each time I trek up north, I see so many tailgating, cutting each other off, flipping each other off, and every other rude action that could be taken while driving, I thank God that I've been fortunate enough to realize that life isn't about the destination. It's about the journey. I shouldn't be focused on the finish line, but the beautiful flowers along the path and the person on that path with me.

As August hits us with full force, I ache for the holidays to get here. I ache for the kindness, charity, open arms, and patience that many people seem to suddenly remember. Maybe I'm naive to think that this "holiday kindness" could last year round. Maybe in a world full of fast paced madness, I'm able to stop and appreciate being stuck behind a semi going 55. Maybe I'm the person who would rather be late than never there. I do know that I don't want to be the dad looking down from above because I was too rushed to get somewhere. I want to get to the party on earth, but not upstairs just yet.

If by chance you are reading this, think about that wreckless driving maneuver you are about to make. Think about the mom and dad with their child in the backseat. Think about how that child would feel if they suddenly didn't have mommy and daddy around for the rest of their lives. Think about that person you see walking down the street who might be homeless. Is it really too much to simply stop somewhere and grab them a meal? Think about how you feel during the holidays, and keep that spirit year round. We are all capable of love greater than we can fathom. Why not share some of it with others that might need it?

Yes, this is August, but for me and my family, we're going to let everyone know we think it's Christmas time!


  1. Hi Nice Guy!
    Liked this post. I just figure that the people put in our paths are meant to be there and when we show up together we have a chance to make a happy moment (or a miserable one!). It's a choice. It's always hard for me to be kind and patient when someone's mad at me or cuts me off. But I need those reactions to see if I'm on the right track to being the kind of example I want to be for my children. It's just more fun to be nice...Mr. Nice Guy!
    Thanks for the great thought for the day. Maybe I'll start decorating early?

  2. Justin, aloha. Let the Christmas spirit prevail all year long. Of course, Justin, in Hawaii that's what we call the Aloha spirit.

    Quite honestly, rarely do you hear a horn honk unless it is for a real reason rather than rudeness. In the stores, you know you have to be patient because everybody will be talking with everybody else. Perhaps because it's so small, it's more personal.

    Let me tell you about a campaign a friend of mine started on his blog. It was a challenge to be an Invisible Giver. Justin, guaranteed it will make you feel good and, I suspect, those people who are the benficiaries will no doubt pay it forward.

    Most of us have paid for someone else's coffee or helped with groceries which is fun. this was my suggestion which I have done for years.

    What I do is leave money in a rest room or some public place where it can be easily found. It doesn’t matter whether it is $1, $5, $10 or $20; it’s the thought that counts.

    When money comes to us in unexpected ways, we are delighted. So that people won’t feel “guilt” about the money & think someone lost it, I put a little note on it that says: “Here is a gift for you. It is yours to do with as you choose–keep it, spend it or share. May it brighten your day. Enjoy.”

    Sometimes I lurk in the area to watch the reaction and have always been delighted with what I see. Other times I just leave it and go on my merry way. It is so much to imagine the possibilities that can happen with that money.

    Justin, doing such things will definitely help keep you in the Christmas spirit or filled with the spirit of aloha.

    Wishing you a magnificent week. Aloha. Janet

    P.S. Do you know Marcus Baker? The challenge and the results are over on two of his posts this month. His blog is Marcus-Baker . com No space, however, I don't like to link to someone else's blog without permission.

  3. Hi Betsy, I didn't realize I had a comment! So sorry for not responding right away!

    I totally think that it's time to start decorating for Christmas!

    I'm the same way when driving. It's just so much easier to leave ten mins earlier than normal, hop in the slow lane and keep it on cruise control. I'd rather get there late than never. and I also understand that sometimes, no matter how much planning I do, Mr. Murphy will toss a wrench in somewhere.

    However, I don't take the frustrations out on others. They didn't cause the problem right? Instead, hand out smiles and hope that my cheerfulness might spread to those that need it.

  4. Hola Janet!

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE your idea about the money! I will for sure start doing that!

    I love the concept of doing it anonymously as well. Even though I may curse like a sailor sometimes, I was introduced to church around the 7th grade and learned a lot. A LOT about brotherly love, compassion, giving, random acts of kindness, loving your enemy, and so on. The piece I loved most was in Luke. It spoke about not letting the right hand know what the left was doing. Meaning that if you give or donate or do a random act of kindness, don't showboat. Those who receive the most from random giving and donations are the ones who do it just because they know it's a good thing to do.

    I've always loved the concept of "Living Aloha". When I went to Pearl Harbor in 01 and 03 when I was in the Navy, I saw a land that wasn't rushed, wasn't rude, was BEYOND hospitable, and just an overall lovely place to be. On my first visit, a couple (probably in late 40's or early 50's) saw me wandering around and obviously knew I was a visiting sailor. They stopped and offered to show me around the island. for three days they took me all over. A total stranger, and they gave in to the whim of showing someone the island they loved.

    In an Ideal world, Hawaii will be the place I call home sooner rather than later!

    I'll also go look at Marcus' blog. I'm intrigued! Thanks for sharing Janet! Keep being awesome!