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A few days ago I put a signature on my Forum messages.

on 30 November 2011. Posted in 2011

 

A few days ago I put a signature on my Forum messages. It was one I’d heard a long time ago and that had made a great impression on me. Attributed to many different people, it may have been said by Plato and goes more or less like this, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.”

At first, I think I just read it, thought “pop psychology” and started to read on—and then alarm bells (or alarum bells, as my beloved J.R.R. Tolkien would have it)—started to go off in my head. Great battle? What great battle? Of course, I was fighting a few great battles, but surely not everybody. . . .

Then I thought back to my adolescence, when I was fighting battles on every front, and so was everybody else I knew. The battle just to try to be myself, for one thing. The battle to deal with some fairly terrible stuff in my life. And I was living in America . . . in California, for goodness sake. What would a girl my age be doing in a poorer, less developed country? Carrying water—if there was drinkable water—and trying to make enough food for one to stretch into eight portions?

I thought of my father who has terrible pain in his back, undoubtedly brought on by the football scholarship that sent him to college . . . of an aunt whose mother had just died . . . of a friend who was always cheerful, and always kind. And a sort of ping went off in my brain, because this ever-cheerful friend had done a wonderfully kind thing for me, and . . . I want to pass it on. There can never be too much kindness in this world.

Christina, which I will use as an alias for the cheerful friend, had given me a wonderful gift, one that can help me at any time of day or night when I might feel in need of a little kindness. She’d given me a jar of KindNotes, which can be found at www.KindNotes.com and bears the logo “Send a smile each day.” It was a lovely jar, filled with miniature envelopes, inside of which is tucked a message. If you like, you can write write all thirty two messages by yourself—and this is what Christi—I mean Christina did. The site even has suggestions for what sort of things to say.

Everything about the gift is customizable, so you can give your pink-loving friend pink stuffing under her notes and cherry blossom envelopes. But most important is that you can say things that you might not want to say aloud, like You’re the best Mom in the world and I’m sorry about breaking your vase!” or “You sure looked good in your little black dress last Saturday.” They can be as generic or as intimate as you like—and this gift keeps on giving. If the person you give the jar to has moderate patience, it can take weeks or even months before she or he opens that last note.

Such a simple idea—why didn’t anybody think of it before? We can be kind to others when we see that they are fighting a great battle, whether it’s being treated unfairly by their boss, or just generally grieving over the many, many injustices in life. And of course if you’re not the writer-type, or worry that your special honey will think you aren’t, you can just send a preprinted jar of cheery quotes. There’s something about actually reaching in and picking out an envelope, opening it, and reading it, that makes it different from inspiring messages in books or on billboards. There’s a tactile sense that is satisfied, sort of like getting your first much-folded love note times thirty-two!

And no, there’s nothing in it for me for this free endorsement of a product I find have just discovered. I would never do that. And, yes, if you are creative you can do this whole thing from scratch, using a large jam jar and just folding the messages for your giftee. But, yes, I have already placed and paid for my Christmas order for notes for people I want to be kind to. I like the look of the notes, the customizability of the filling and envelopes, and the friendliness and helpfulness of the people in the online store.

Now I know that everyone I meet is fighting a great battle. And I’ve decided that I would like to cheer some of them on. As a militant idealist, it’s my sworn duty to add a touch of kindness to this world.

Comments   

 
Jennifer Collins
+2 # QuoteJennifer Collins 2011-12-01 04:27
I have always loved that quote. People always look to the surface and rarely deeper than that when they look at someone. A smile on someone's face means they're ok on the surface, but underneath, their heart might be breaking or broken for many reasons. The greatest battle we have is to trust ourselves and be confident in ourselves among opposing thoughts and ideas from outside and inside ourselves. Every negative word or action strips away the little successes we have.

A smile or kind gesture to each person you meet makes their lives a little nicer each day.
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Alina young
0 # so sweet :)Alina young 2011-12-01 15:47
i think this is adorable and so sweet and thank u l.j smith for making my day a little better knowing u are just so kind :)
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Jennifer Martin
0 # BeautifulJennifer Martin 2011-12-01 17:52
What a beautiful way to let someone know just how special and loved they are!
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Alejandra Estrada
+1 # RE: A few days ago I put a signature on my Forum messages.Alejandra Estrada 2011-12-01 18:33
I second that, they are wonderful little gifts. My husband gave me one for our 1st year anniversary for it being paper and all ^^
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Lacey Wilson
+1 # RE: A few days ago I put a signature on my Forum messages.Lacey Wilson 2011-12-01 20:08
That is an incredible idea, especially for Christmas. I was going to buy a gift for my Aunt, who I am Secret Santa for, but I think this jar might be a much better idea and more heartfelt. :lol:
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HL Halliday
0 # RE: A few days ago I put a signature on my Forum messages.HL Halliday 2011-12-02 13:50
I had a very lovely friend from church give me a jar, a few years ago. In it were little rolled up slips of paper and I was instructed to pull one out per day. On the papers were uplifting quotes or sayings and I found myself thinking of her every time I put my hand into the jar and what a blessing she was in my life (she has since moved to a different town and so have I). I love ideas like this ... that pass around the love and warm feelings. Thanks for sharing your story with us!
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HL Halliday
+1 # RE: A few days ago I put a signature on my Forum messages.HL Halliday 2011-12-02 14:27
PS. I couldn't resist ... I ordered a KindNotes jar for my husband for our Anniversary! (He's the sentimental type so I know he'll appreciate this!) I'm so excited to get him something he doesn't know about (and won't be able to guess what it is!) :lol:
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Ashlee Brannin
0 # RE: A few days ago I put a signature on my Forum messages.Ashlee Brannin 2011-12-14 17:59
I just wanted to thank you for your books, they have literally kept me sane during my toughest battles.
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