Strength is Golden – The Giving Keys
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Strength is Golden

I try and do one daily random act of kindness.

Most days it’s nothing big (holding the door for someone, helping a stranger carry groceries to her car) and I admit the helper's high I get is a strong motivating factor. Well that and watching the surprise and joy on the other person's face when she realizes something has been done for her without expectation of anything in return.

With the examples of many before me, I decided to do 44 random acts of kindness in honor of my birthday.

Following in the Jewish tradition, the highest level of giving being anonymous, I haven't shared my RAOK’ing process—except for today. And only today because it really was the one instance I gave of something which really "cost" me anything: time and something I treasured.

A few months back I saw a GOLD-man on the streets of Oakland. I spied him as I sat outside my office with his gold bike, gold helmet, gold boom box, and gold balloons. I seemed to be the only one who noticed him.

I asked around, but it seemed that no one knew of my guy in gold. After I began to wonder if he were a vision of sorts, I spotted GoldMan ambling ahead of me on my walk to work one day. He stopped, parked his GoldBike, and stood outside a coffee shop.

As I walked past I longed to ask what his story was… why all the gold? Did he purchase new balloons daily or are they given to him?

He in turn, spotted my backpack, perhaps sensed a kindred spirit, and shouted out that he liked the colorful spikes on it. I seized this as a sign to stop and chat.

After a lengthy conversation — one I feel intuitively is not mine to share — I told him I wished I had something to give him but I had nothing on me. He then informed me he had $20 (he needed $40 for a hotel room) and thought he should share it with me.

And then I remembered I had my strength to give. Wrapped around my wrist was The Giving Keys bracelet I'd purchased and planned to pass on when I was "finished" with it. As much as I wasn't ready to part with my strength–it was time.

I'm woman enough to admit it was with a selfish, heavy heart (and a mind already considering a new HOPE pendant!) I slipped off the bracelet, and told him it was really all I had to give. He looked at the key in its antique, almost golden finish and put it on. I was left musing over my experience with my 44 random acts of kindness while he cycled off on his golden way.

-Carla


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