I sometimes forget how easy it is to be nice. Not that I'm normally mean - at least I hope I'm not - but there's a difference between being decent and going out of your way to actively make something better in the world. But "make something better" doesn't often get penciled into your post-7pm personal to-do list of the day (commute, get groceries, cook, wash dishes, pay bills, reply to personal emails, blog, read industry articles, etc). My idea of "making something better" at the end of a hard day is a hug from my partner and a glass of wine. It's my survival instinct turning on, pulling me inward so I can hold tight to my personal kernel of sanity and relief.
Other people don't necessarily register when you're protectively pulling in. 15 minutes feel huge when your mind is already experimenting with scheduling contortions and configurations to make space for your immediate task list needs. But sometimes, 15 minutes is all it takes to make a day exponentially better. A flash-in-the-pan moment of kindness can spread its glow through the entire week. A slight detour on my commute home to visit a flower shop and stop at my parents' house was all it took to remind me that kindness is surprisingly simple. It took 15 minutes. Maybe 20. Just enough time to leave flowers and a card on their front table, so they're welcomed home with beauty and love after a long trip.
It made me think about how an unexpected email, phone call, or kind comment can brighten my day. How surprise flowers from Jason can shift my energies from their normal state of exhaustion into appreciation and thankfulness. And I only hope that the flowers for my parents help shift the energy of their long multi-flight journey into relief at being home, in every sense of the word. It's not much. I wish I could do more. But even a 15 minute detour is enough time for a floral burst of Joy. Multiplied. Flowers and happiness made stronger through a tiny act of giving.
Picture of my mother's roses, which greeted me on my 15 minute detour