The start of a new year is a great time to make plans for improvement, but it is also a wonderful time to look back at the highlights of the one that just ended. As I reflect on 2016, so much happened that seemed to dampen my spirits: personal tragedies, political upheaval, friends with cancer. But one bright spot throughout the second half of my year came from a dear friend who reminded me of the power of putting good into the world when tragedy strikes.
None of us were expecting the Pulse shooting last June. To be honest, at times it’s still hard to believe it happened. The response to that event was varied – there was mourning, solidarity, anger, fear, pride – and then there were the Hestons.
A family of four on the north side of Orlando put their emotions to the side and committed to doing an act of kindness for every one of the 49 victims of that tragic night. #49for49 became their hashtag and off they set to put a positive spin on a terrible tragedy. Homemade cookies for first responders; Jared Boxes for pediatric hospital patients; holiday cards for the elderly; meals for the hungry – each act in honor of one of the victims.
It’s easy to give of ourselves when our blessings feel abundant. Sometimes it’s not so easy when times are hard. But as mom Erin, put it so perfectly:
“With each ‘kindness opportunity,’ we honor one of the individuals taken from our community. We hope that in this small way, we’re bringing a smile to those who knew them, or maybe even inspiring others to share their love with the world. With each donation or project, we find that we get so much more than we give. Along the way, our family is learning, having fun together and making connections that bring us as much joy as those we serve.”
So as we begin this new year, let us be inspired by Brock, Molly and their parents. While certainly there is still much to worry about, let’s turn those worries into action — the positive kind. We don’t know what a world of kindness just might look like. For more on this incredible family and their journey, visit www.49for49.com.