There are few things in this world more beautiful than a cardinal in the snow. What is it about seeing a splash of brilliance in a monochromatic landscape that makes me feel hopeful? Maybe it’s a symbol of survival. Most often I’m huddled over a warm cup of coffee, staring out of the sliding glass doors at a freezing blanket of white covering my world, when I see that welcoming flurry of red spreading his wings in spite of the bleak climate. I want to be more like that.
Everywhere we turn, the economy is affecting our lives in ways that hurt. Some of the smartest people I know fear losing their jobs or have already experienced a job loss. Truly great businesses are closing or at least tightening their belts. People from every walk of life are feeling the affects of financial downturns. So we’re all walking around in the same bleak climate, perhaps trying not to reveal just how much we’re feeling it.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed with doubt and anxiety in our efforts to be realistic about our financial future. Who doesn’t worry about what happens when all our financial safety nets are gone?! We’re all hoping we don’t financially freeze to death. It might seem easiest just to hibernate until this whole nasty storm blows over.
Being wise with our resources is obviously so very important. But, if we are learning anything in these interesting times, certainly we’re discovering that, if our only “safety nets” are made of money, we’ve basically built a house of paper in which we isolate ourselves from deeper joys. Rich, poor and everyone in-between… who among us can afford to be lonely and isolated?
So here’s a sure-fire investment program. Let’s run some figures on kindness. (All the financial minds out there just rolled your eyes… but stick with me here for a sec.) Showing a small kindness doesn’t have to cost a penny, generates zero regrets, and makes you – and those around you – feel like a million bucks. Maybe it’s an extra smile, or holding a door, or maybe you scrape the ice off the car next to yours in the parking lot. Maybe it’s making the coffee first or being the one to change the trash bag when everyone else pretends not to notice that it’s overflowing?
The overachievers among us could really go haywire and give a spouse the day off from all nagging or give our children hours of undivided attention. We recently had a local business owner offer a free logo design for my husband’s fledgling business. That was HUGE! He was our own personal “cardinal in the snow”! Most of us willingly overachieve to build a certain reputation or career goal… so why not overachieve to make someone’s day – or year – unforgettable??
In short, kindness makes us like cardinals in the snow by offering a sharp contrast to all the economic blah with a little WOW! So how ’bout it??