I was driving to get my son the other day and heard a car honk behind me. I looked in my rearview mirror and saw an old, beat-p truck stopped with the driver yelling to another woman in the SUV next to her. The woman in the SUV was looking straight ahead and had her window rolled up but her anxiety was visible. Her lips were pursed, eyebrows raised, and everything was stiff. I couldn’t hear what the angry woman was saying but her vitriol was a wave of energy that most likely made its way into every adjacent car. I don’t know what caused the woman to get so angry, but this exchange had a ripple effect on at least three people: the angry woman, the woman in the SUV, and me.

The angry women ended up pulling up next me, window still rolled down, and looking into my car. I froze for a moment, wondering if I was next on her anger list. My dog was in the car next to me, watching her. She was looking at him, emotionless. Our eyes met, my heart sped up a bit, and I knew I had a split second to make a decision–I could simply look away, I could roll my window down and tell her how gross I thought it was that she lashed out at a stranger so harshly, or I could smile.

I smiled, the biggest most genuine smile I could.

I chose in that moment to spread kindness. I actually took a second to send her a wish that she would be able to let go of her anger for the day. She looked a little shocked that I was smiling and it took her a second, but she smiled back. Then she looked at my dog again and smiled again (he is pretty adorable).

I wished I could have turned my car around to the woman in the SUV and do the same. When she passed me, I saw she was frowning, head down a little, trying hard to avoid the angry woman in the truck. I thought about how this might impact the rest of her day, how she might already be dealing with some hard thing in life and this would make her feel worse. Or, maybe she had been having a terrific morning, feeling on top of the world because she got the kids to school in time and was having a good hair day, and now the anger of a stranger would dampen that.

I wish we would all make a conscious effort to CHOOSE kindness, even when it is hard. Even when we’re sad, angry, or just plain don’t agree with someone else–kindness. These don’t need to be huge acts, either. A smile, a sincere “thank you,” a hug, “I love you,” anything that takes a negative and turns it into a positive. Can we try to be gentler with our fellow humans? We’re all fighting the same battle to thrive, the same desire to succeed, and to be happy. Tearing each other down and spreading anger and hate hurts more than just the person you’re angry with. It has a ripple effect, the energy spreading wide and fast.

I choose kindness and I hope you do too.

It’s awe-inspiring what a smile can do.

 

 

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Heather LeRoss

Heather LeRoss is the mom to two smelly but sweet boys and step-mom to another boy (he’s less smelly). She spends her days spinning in circles of crazy wearing a tiara, gripping a glass of champagne. Heather is a lover of fine boxed wine and chocolate. She hopes to someday be known as “Heather” again and not, “those boys’ mom.” Follow the funny and heart feels on Tipsy Tiaras and on Facebook.

I Thought Our Friendship Would Be Unbreakable

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Two friends selfie

The message notification pinged on my phone. A woman, once one of my best friends, was reaching out to me via Facebook. Her message simply read, “Wanted to catch up and see how life was treating you!”  I had very conflicting feelings. It seemed with that one single message, a flood of memories surfaced. Some held some great moments and laughter. Other memories held disappointment and hurt of a friendship that simply had run its course. Out of morbid curiosity, I clicked on her profile page to see how the years had been treating her. She was divorced and still...

Keep Reading

The First 10 Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking

In: Journal, Marriage, Relationships
The First Ten Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking www.herviewfromhome.com

We met online in October of 2005, by way of a spam email ad I was THIS CLOSE to marking as trash. Meet Single Christians! My cheese alert siren sounded loudly, but for some reason, I unchecked the delete box and clicked through to the site. We met face-to-face that Thanksgiving. As I awaited your arrival in my mother’s kitchen, my dad whispered to my little brother, “Hide your valuables. Stacy has some guy she met online coming for Thanksgiving dinner.” We embraced for the first time in my parents’ driveway. I was wearing my black cashmere sweater with the...

Keep Reading

To The Mother Who Is Overwhelmed

In: Inspiration, Motherhood
Tired woman with coffee sitting at table

I have this one head. It is a normal sized head. It didn’t get bigger because I had children. Just like I didn’t grow an extra arm with the birth of each child. I mean, while that would be nice, it’s just not the case. We keep our one self. And the children we add on each add on to our weight in this life. And the head didn’t grow more heads because we become a wife to someone. Or a boss to someone. We carry the weight of motherhood. The decisions we must make each day—fight the shorts battle...

Keep Reading

You’re a Little Less Baby Today Than Yesterday

In: Journal, Motherhood
Toddler sleeping in mother's arms

Tiny sparkles are nestled in the wispy hair falling across her brow, shaken free of the princess costume she pulled over her head this morning. She’s swathed in pink: a satiny pink dress-up bodice, a fluffy, pink, slightly-less-glittery-than-it-was-two-hours-ago tulle skirt, a worn, soft pink baby blanket. She’s slowed long enough to crawl into my lap, blinking heavy eyelids. She’s a little less baby today than she was only yesterday.  Soon, she’ll be too big, too busy for my arms.  But today, I’m rocking a princess. The early years will be filled with exploration and adventure. She’ll climb atop counters and...

Keep Reading

Dear Husband, I Loved You First

In: Marriage, Motherhood, Relationships
Man and woman kissing in love

Dear husband, I loved you first. But often, you get the last of me. I remember you picking me up for our first date. I spent a whole hour getting ready for you. Making sure every hair was in place and my make-up was perfect. When you see me now at the end of the day, the make-up that is left on my face is smeared. My hair is more than likely in a ponytail or some rat’s nest on the top of my head. And my outfit, 100% has someone’s bodily fluids smeared somewhere. But there were days when...

Keep Reading

Stop Being a Butthole Wife

In: Grief, Journal, Marriage, Relationships
Man and woman sit on the end of a dock with arms around each other

Stop being a butthole wife. No, I’m serious. End it.  Let’s start with the laundry angst. I get it, the guy can’t find the hamper. It’s maddening. It’s insanity. Why, why, must he leave piles of clothes scattered, the same way that the toddler does, right? I mean, grow up and help out around here, man. There is no laundry fairy. What if that pile of laundry is a gift in disguise from a God you can’t (yet) see? Don’t roll your eyes, hear me out on this one. I was a butthole wife. Until my husband died. The day...

Keep Reading

I Can’t Be Everyone’s Chick-fil-A Sauce

In: Friendship, Journal, Living, Relationships
woman smiling in the sun

A couple of friends and I went and grabbed lunch at Chick-fil-A a couple of weeks ago. It was delightful. We spent roughly $20 apiece, and our kids ran in and out of the play area barefoot and stinky and begged us for ice cream, to which we responded, “Not until you finish your nuggets,” to which they responded with a whine, and then ran off again like a bolt of crazy energy. One friend had to climb into the play tubes a few times to save her 22-month-old, but it was still worth every penny. Every. Single. One. Even...

Keep Reading

Love Notes From My Mother in Heaven

In: Faith, Grief, Journal, Living
Woman smelling bunch of flowers

Twelve years have passed since my mother exclaimed, “I’ve died and gone to Heaven!” as she leaned back in her big donut-shaped tube and splashed her toes, enjoying the serenity of the river.  Twelve years since I stood on the shore of that same river, 45 minutes later, watching to see if the hopeful EMT would be able to revive my mother as she floated toward his outstretched hands. Twelve years ago, I stood alone in my bedroom, weak and trembling, as I opened my mother’s Bible and all the little keepsakes she’d stowed inside tumbled to the floor.  It...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Friendships End, No Matter How Hard You Try

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Sad woman alone without a friend

I tried. We say these words for two reasons. One: for our own justification that we made an effort to complete a task; and two: to admit that we fell short of that task. I wrote those words in an e-mail tonight to a friend I had for nearly 25 years after not speaking to her for eight months. It was the third e-mail I’ve sent over the past few weeks to try to reconcile with a woman who was more of a sister to me at some points than my own biological sister was. It’s sad when we drift...

Keep Reading

Goodbye to the House That Built Me

In: Grown Children, Journal, Living, Relationships
Ranch style home as seen from the curb

In the winter of 1985, while I was halfway done growing in my mom’s belly, my parents moved into a little brown 3 bedroom/1.5 bath that was halfway between the school and the prison in which my dad worked as a corrections officer. I would be the first baby they brought home to their new house, joining my older sister. I’d take my first steps across the brown shag carpet that the previous owner had installed. The back bedroom was mine, and mom plastered Smurf-themed wallpaper on the accent wall to try to get me to sleep in there every...

Keep Reading