What goes around comes around! my mother would always tell me when I was disheartened by a destructive deed or critical comment. It was a hard pill to swallow way back then but, with maturity, its meaning has become crystal clear to me. There is no doubt my sister and I were raised by parents who very much believed in the Circle of Goodness! They lived it and expected us to do the same.
As a result, I have always tried to live my life by incorporating the values we were taught treat others like we wish to be treated, offer kindness to those whose paths we cross and never judge others because we dont know their situations. Although I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, I start each morning with those rules as my daily goal. Sometimes I reach it; sometimes I dont.
In fact, I enjoy bringing happiness to others. There is truth in the quote, It is much better to give than receive. A satisfaction fills your spirit when you give to others. No matter what kind of day you may be having, brightening someone elses day will in turn brighten yours. The best thing about this concept is that it doesnt cost a penny. Well, I guess thats not entirely true.
The other day I was standing in line at a convenience store. The lady in front of me couldnt find enough money to pay for her purchase. She was short a few coins needed to complete her transaction. I didnt know her but I have certainly been in her position before. Some of the people behind me in line were pacing and sighing. What is going on? I heard one mutter.
I decided I would give her what she needed so I reached into my pocket and placed the exact change on the counter. Here, I said. Take this. Shock appeared on her face like she had been surprised or awoken from a deep sleep without notice. Not uttering a word, she pushed it toward the cashier, turned and walked away. Thats why I quit doing that, the person behind me said. No gratitude. As I went to leave, I said to him with a smile on my face, Sir, I didnt do it for her. I did it for me!
I love to hold a door open for others in public places. Even if I have to wait a little longer, the rewards are great. They may be frowning or sad, but when they see what you are doing, a smile usually comes over their faces. Some people are, by nature, shocked when others offer kind deeds. Have we all become too self-involved to put others before ourselves?
Kind deeds come in all forms, shapes and sizes and, like boomerangs, come back to you. Wait, isnt that what the Circle of Goodness means? A week or so ago, I was driving down a very congested street where three lanes of traffic suddenly merged into two.
My mind was in another place when I discovered I was in the wrong lane. I immediately put on my blinker to no avail. Then, a nice man slowed down and motioned for me to go in front of him with a smile on his face. Wow! I said to myself, This feels good on the receiving side as well! If we all replaced honking horns and impatient sighs with kind gestures or a smile, look at what we could accomplish. Life, as we know it, would be quite different.
As my mother told me more times than I can remember, We all have our own sack of rocks to tote around.
It doesnt matter who we are, how much money we have or where we live, we are all carrying around some extra baggage. Most of the time, our personal burdens are carefully hidden deep inside of us. But sometimes, glimpses of peoples inner conflicts escape, forming sadness on their faces and worried looks in their eyes.
I am blessed to be able to reach many people with my columns, demonstrations and shows. Although a big responsibility comes with this kind of gift, the rewards are also great.
Just the other day, I was speaking to a group in Milledgeville. While creating some wreaths, I told funny stories about everyday life. We all laughed and had a great time.
After my performance in Milledgeville, a beautiful elderly lady approached me. She took my hand in hers and with tears forming puddles in her eyes said, I want to tell you something. You will never know what you have meant to me today. To be able to laugh and forget my troubles even for a short time has been a wonderful gift. I just want to say thanks!
With that she turned and walked away. I found out later that her husband is in the final stages of dementia and she never leaves his side. Someone agreed to sit with him while she attended my demonstration and I, in some small way without even knowing it until afterward, had brightened her day.
We truly never know how we are affecting those around us with our actions.
I smiled as I drove back home that afternoon. My mother and daddy were right! The Circle of Goodness does indeed come full circle. With every kind deed we offer, we are the ones who are blessed.
With every day we brighten for someone else, ours is the one that will shine.
Try it today. Go out and create something beautiful for someone else!
More with Mark
n Mark will be at Christmas Made in the South, Nov. 5-7 at the Centreplex. He will have all of his new holiday merchandise and his hot off the press book featuring a collection of his favorite columns.
n Check out Marks website at www.markballard.com, for current projects, recipes and lots of other fun stuff and Marks T-shirts, prints, cards and his collectible porcelain plates.
n Mark is on www.macon.com 24 hours a day. Videos, columns and articles are featured.
Mark Ballards column runs each week in The Telegraph. Send your questions or comments to P.O. Box 4232, Macon, GA 31208; fax them to (478) 474-4930; call (478) 757-6877; e-mail to email@example.com; or become part of Marks fan page on Facebook.