I finally bought someone a cup of coffee! Several someones in fact. Since I have been unsuccessful so far in my attempts to purchase the beverage of the person behind me in the Starbucks line, I took a different approach. At work we have a canteen with half a dozen vending machines. The coffee isn’t particularly good, but it’s hot and relatively cheap. Sometimes it’s simply the act of leaving your desk, stretching your legs, and socializing with the other coffee-goers that makes the trip worthwhile. Speaking from personal experience, one highlight of an otherwise long day spent in my cube is when I win the coffee lottery and get a free cup by accident. Sometimes the machine freaks out and gives me all my money back and other times people just forget to take their change. It’s like finding a lucky penny. It doesn’t actually amount to much, but it makes you feel good when a little bit of good fortune finds you. Since the canteen is a hopping place, especially around 2:30 in the afternoon, I had to be extra sneaky. (It felt a little reminiscent of recent Tooth Fairy expeditions to my children’s rooms in the middle of the night.) I brought a pocketful of quarters with me and slowly walked from machine to machine depositing a couple of coins in each of the change return slots. When I turned around after visiting the last machine, someone approached with their money in hand. I walked away slowly so as to witness the tiny lottery win. When the gentleman (whom I didn’t know) reached down to retrieve his change, he noticed the extra coins. Before I could avoid eye contact, he called out to me, “Hey Miss! You left your change,” and promptly brought it over to me. Foiled again! I thanked him and put it back in my pocket. When he walked out the door, I meandered back to the coffee machine, slid the coins back in the slot and walked away before anyone else could return my good deed.
And now some random thoughts for the day. I am someone who definitely subscribes to the yin yang theory. There cannot be light without dark, joy without pain, and so on. During times when I am the most sad, I comfort myself by thinking that there has to be something equally good in the world that balances out my grief. I wondered today, by attempting to create a ripple effect from performing random acts of kindness, do I also unintentionally set in motion the opposite effect as well? To Wikipedia I went.
“Yin yang are not opposing forces (dualities), but complementary opposites that interact within a greater whole, as part of a dynamic system. Everything has both yin and yang aspects as light cannot exist without darkness and vice-versa, but either of these aspects may manifest more strongly in particular objects, and may ebb or flow over time.”
I found this comforting. There cannot be kindness without apathy, this is true. But, if I’m understanding the lesson correctly, more acts of kindness do not necessarily generate more occurrences of apathy. As forces, they create a balance, but they do not have to manifest equally. Whew. Leave it to me to worry about such things.
I will continue my very modest project in hopes of spreading little breadcrumbs of happiness leading out of darkness and into more light.