Did you notice the full moon last night? Sometimes we get so busy taking care of this or that and everything that needs to get done that we don’t even stop and notice the beauty that exists around us. But when I say beauty I’m not just talking about the full moon, it’s much more than that; I’m talking about the little things, like unexpected acts of beauty and kindness that bring us joy and make us feel loved – if we notice.
One of my favorite and most recent acts of beauty and kindness was unexpectedly receiving a Japanese toilet seat from a good friend. It might sound like some sort of joke, but believe me it is not. I’m totally serious, and if you’ve ever used a Japanese toilet seat you know what a very pleasant experience it can be – and why this is a very clever, albeit unusual, gift.
It all started with a conversation I had with my friend, Sammy, at my husband’s birthday party last summer. Sammy talked about an upcoming trip to Japan he had planned with his neighbors and that somehow led to a discussion of Japanese culture, including their amazing toilet seats, and why don’t we have these awesome toilet seats in the U.S.?
I had first experienced a Japanese toilet seat at my good friend Paula’s house, when I stayed for a couple of nights and had the privilege of using her guest bathroom. She told me I would love it: the heated seat, the rinsing mechanism and all of the other bells and whistles that transform a typical bathroom experience into a momentary retreat of pampering and refreshment. I can tell you it was all that, and it made an impression. How cool would it be to have one of these in my bathroom? I told Sammy if he experienced anything like Paula’s toilet seat in Japan, he would be hooked and he’d want one, too. I’d had a lot to drink that night at the party, months passed, life went on and I’d completely forgotten about our conversation.
Then one day in late November, I got a text from Sammy asking if he could swing by our house because he needed to drop something off. I’d assumed it was something for my husband and asked if someone needed to be there when he came by. He said yes, but he would prefer for me to be there as the item was actually for me. I was perplexed, but curious as to what it was. When Sammy arrived at the door he had a huge cardboard box in his hands. He proceeded to jog my memory about the conversation we’d had in June about Japanese toilet seats. He explained that he fell in love with Japanese toilet seats from the minute he arrived in Japan because they actually had them in the airport. Consequently, he not only bought one for himself, but bought one for me, too. I was so beside myself and excited to have a Japanese toilet seat of my own! I couldn’t wait to get it installed. And what brought me the most happiness and joy wasn’t the fact that I’d have this wonderfully indulgent toilet seat to use multiple times a day; it was that my friend was present enough to really listen to me at the party that night, hear what would bring me joy, and acted on it. He waited several months, ordered it, spent hundreds of dollars, and delivered it to me personally. It was completely unexpected and without expectation of anything in return. Whether he gave me a bouquet of flowers or a Japanese toilet seat, it was an unexpected act of beauty and kindness that I will never forget.
Likewise, my good friend and business partner, Joseph Lewis, tried to share an audio book with me for months. He knew I made frequent car trips back and forth to Tucson to visit my son and he thought I’d enjoy one of the audio books he’d recently downloaded called, Grit, that might inspire me in our shared goal of seeing our business thrive despite the tremendous amount of work it would take. I kept running into problems with storage on my iPhone and unfortunately couldn’t listen to the book in my car. So just after Christmas, Joseph took me out to lunch and gave me an unexpected gift: an Android Blu Advance 5.0 phone into which he’d loaded his entire audio library, just so I could listen to audio books on Bluetooth in my car. Again, it was totally unexpected, but he really listened to my frustrations, saw a means to make my life easier in a very personal and generous way and acted on it without asking anything in return.
Every once in a while we see viral videos or social media posts that depict someone performing a random act of kindness and beauty. I believe it happens a lot more than we ever know because the people who do these sorts of things rarely seek public recognition for doing so. It’s something we can all do, though, just for the sake of spreading goodness and love. All it takes is noticing, listening, and pondering for a moment what love or happiness would look like for your friend or spouse or co-worker or whomever, recognizing your personal and unique ability to make it happen for them, and acting on it.
Do you know someone who’s done something great and deserves to be recognized? We love to tell positive stories of unsung heroes who otherwise might go unnoticed. If you have a story to tell, you can post it yourself by becoming a My Local News contributor by clicking here, or you can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope you give and receive many acts of beauty and kindness throughout 2017!