“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a
mystery. And today? Today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.” — Babatunde
Olatunji


This present is unlike others you may receive now and then. You
can’t give it back; and to refuse it is a sin. It isn’t a present that can ever
be exchanged. It starts and ends in the dark and can’t be rearranged.


There are but twenty-four hours in this new day you got. That’s
quite a few; but it’s not a lot. You may wish for more hours to do all of your
stuff; but twenty-four is it and will have to be enough.


If you are disappointed in the few hours given to you, there are
fourteen hundred and forty minutes to do what you do. If you don’t carelessly
fritter the minutes away, there’s plenty of time for both work and for play.


That’s eighty-six thousand and four hundred seconds to use only
for you. It’s certainly your choice; but is that what you’ll do? Do as you
will; but consider this plan. Use the four hundred seconds to give kindnesses
when you can.


As you consider whether a kindness is necessary, Ralph Waldo
Emerson had a point that you may find worth remembering, “You cannot do a
kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late.”
Seneca suggested an additional dimension to kindnesses, “We should give as we
would receive, cheerfully, quickly, and without hesitation; for there is no
grace in a benefit that sticks to the fingers.” There is also a hidden
dimension that only you experience. Charles Lamb described it this way,
“The greatest pleasure I know is to do a good action by stealth, and to
have it found out by accident.” John Bunyan similarly pointed out this
hidden dimension, “A man there was, tho’ some did count him mad, the more
he cast away, the more he had.” Hada Bejar put it this way, “The fragrance
always stays in the hand that gives the rose.”


The kindnesses you give are of a special type, though. Idries
Shah explained the unique quality of kindnesses that truly matter, “If you give
what can be taken, you are not really giving. Take what you are given, not what
you want to be given. Give what cannot be taken.” Nelson Henderson was a bit
more philosophical when adding his insight to the discussion, “The true meaning
of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”
The conclusion is that kindness is but a possibility until you give it to
someone who needs it today. Only then does it become a gift to both you and to
the person who receives it.