Have I mentioned how much I love surprises? I do! So often we get caught in the drudgery of day-to-day monotony that we almost forget what unexpected joy feels like when receiving a surprise. I think this is one of my favorite aspects to being a parent, watching the impact surprises have on our children. Their joy is unmasked, unreserved, so full of passion!
As adults, we rarely respond to surprises in the same manner. When was the last time you clapped your hands and said, “YAY!” at the top of your lungs when something unexpectedly nice happened to you? Somehow in the transition from childhood to maturity, we learned how to temper our reactions. We became more self-conscious of our reactions that might be observed by others. It isn’t that we lost the feeling of joy per se… we just became… well… diminished in our outward response.
I am a joyous person. Seriously! (I suddenly hear the laughter of my closest friends reading this post… they might even argue that my sentiment is an understatement.) I am blessed beyond measure again and again because I simply take the time to appreciate the little things in life – including surprises! Today was a perfect example of how a small surprise could turn around someone’s day. Without too many distracting details, let me just say it was a loooooong day… and by 2pm I realized I was starving, needing to eat lunch. I made my way into the teacher’s lounge and look what I discovered:
What in the world? Someone had set up a mini “manicure spa treatment” station with a cute note explaining all the steps of using the special salted oils and lotion. How fun is THAT?! Oh, I was so excited! If I had been five years old, I would have undoubtedly clapped my hands together and shouted, “YAY” as loud as I could! A mini spa treatment in the middle of my work day? ABSOLUTELY!
Such joy! I did the spa treatment, of course (how could I resist?) and even wrote a little thank you note to whomever left the surprise.
What a thoughtful random act of kindness! I was all smiles the rest of the day. I had luxuriously soft hands thanks to the spa treatment (seriously, this stuff was amazing!) and on my way home I decided to keep the joy flowing by paying it forward with a random act of kindness for someone else.
A long while ago, one of my friends donated a manicure gift card so I could use it for a random act of kindness. It’s been in my purse, following me from here to there, just waiting for a perfect moment to be used. Today was the day!
I drove to the nail salon, and sat in the parking lot contemplating my next move. What if I went into the shop and no customers were being helped? Oh, that would be awkward. I was toying with the idea of going to a nearby store and just leaving the gift card in plain view for someone to discover, when I saw a car pull into the parking lot driven by a pretty, blond-haired gal. Surely SHE would be getting a manicure?
I watched her leave her car and start to head into the nail salon. YAY!! (The five year old inside of me clapped and cheered!) I quickly moved my car closer to where she was walking and rolled down my window. “Excuse me, ma’am? Are you going in there to get your nails done?” She turned and answered, “Well, my feet…” and I extended my arm out of the window, handing her the gift card. “Use this and be blessed!” She smiled, said thank you, and that was that!
Maybe you aren’t a fan of surprises like me, but surely there are moments throughout your week or month that brighten your spirit and put a smile on your face. Share the joy! Tell your story to someone else or pay it forward with a nice gesture. It doesn’t have to cost money or even a lot of time. Revel in happiness, because joy is contagious! 🙂