No one is more surprised than I am to see me back here in this space so quickly, but when inspiration strikes, it must be listened to.
It started with a post by blogger Pam from I Choose This. She wrote a post about doing Christmas Eve and Christmas Day a bit differently. It inspired me. I wanted to start the New Year doing something different, and I settled on the idea of spreading a little ‘happy’.
This was not a sophisticated plan by any stretch. My simple idea was to just visit my neighbours and nearby friends, ring their doorbells, and wish them a Happy New Year.
I cut up old Christmas cards to make little “Happy New Year” tags, bought a couple of dozen small white roses, and made individual bundles of 2 roses, each wrapped with red and gold ribbon.
Yesterday afternoon, Gilles and I distributed some of the little bundles to friends who lived close by – friends we have seen so little of during the past year – standing respectfully away from their doorway to offer our New Year’s greeting.
Good friends are always happy to see you, and this occasion was no exception. There were smiles, laughter, and hearty chatter all around.
Then this afternoon, I walked around the block to the various neighbours we know. I admit I had some serious misgivings about this plan. It’s embarrassing to admit we don’t really know our neighbours very well – in spite of living here for over 25 years.
The experience was an eye-opener.
Each time I rang a doorbell, I was initially met with an air of suspicion. It didn’t help that I was bundled up against the chilly wind and wearing a mask. Would you open your door to a set of eyes you didn’t recognize?
When they realized who I was, the reaction quickly changed to surprise, followed shortly after by sheer delight. The real surprise was mine – they ALL wanted to chat.
But it was one neighbour in particular who stands out.
She is a woman I don’t know well at all. Our exchanges over the years haven’t been much more than ‘hello’ … but when I handed her the 2 slightly frostbitten roses, she became quite emotional. This normally distant woman proceeded to tell me her father had passed away a few weeks ago and 2020 had been a horrible year for her family. She couldn’t say enough about how much she appreciated the gesture of ‘happy’ for the new year.
In her words – “I really needed this”.
I’m not writing this for any kind of kudos or pats on the back. This experience actually humbled me to the core. What started out as a silly bit of fun for ME to feel good, went off in a completely unexpected direction.
It was the sudden realization that we are all starving for even the smallest show of kindness – even if it’s just a random neighbour we barely know .
It was a reminder that our actions, even the small, seemingly insignificant things we say or do, leave ripples.
For this new year I send out a challenge to each of you – please make your ripples kind ones.