~Deliberately seek opportunities for kindness, sympathy, and patience.
This morning I had the priviledge of participating in the “belling” of Phoenix. All over the valley, volunteers hung Ben’s Bells to spread the message of kindness and remind us of its power to soothe broken lives, create hope, and affect positive change.
My friend, Diane, and I were entrusted with twenty hand-made bells, twenty pieces of wire, and a rough hewn map on a blue index card. As we walked to the car, I carried this bundle with reverence for it wasn’t just an old grocery bag crammed with ceramic flowers and bells, this was a bag filled with hope. And hope is the most powerful force on the the planet.
We drove carefully to our designated area and began to choose unlikely spots: a tree in a parking lot, a vacant playground, a bench along a bike path. We understood that our role was to deliver the kindness, and it would be someone else’s to receive it. With each bell that we tied to a random location, we knew that it would become a bridge to hope to the person meant to find it. Each bell would become a chapter in a story of healing.
When I returned home, I began to check the Ben’s Bells webpage where people will often post their story about finding a bell, or how a bell found them in a dark moment of their day. A few of the stories were about bells Diane and I had placed. The circle of kindess complete.
Here are a few of the stories:
Thank you for restoring my faith in… well, faith. I have been feeling so alone since losing my husband to cancer last year and now raising three boys. Some days are just so long and hard and on this night I was rushing to my son’s baseball game after working a 12 hour day. I parked the car and as I walked past a tree on the jogging path, I caught a glimpse of a yellow flower hanging beautifully from a tree. I remembered reading about Ben’s Bell’s a while back and wondered if maybe I had found one. As I read the card and happily untied it, I felt such a connection to the heavens. Someone was watching over me! I truly felt that this daisy bell (my favorite flower) was put in my path for a reason. Thank you Ben’s family for making my heart lighter and putting a spring in my step. I will be sure to spread the kindness in honor of Ben (and Bill.) My husbanded loved Tucson dearly, but ironically the bell found its way to me in Scottsdale.
aurelia b writes…
Today I woke up missing my daughter, Violet. She died almost five years ago. As I often do on days that I feel a bit more overwhelmed and unsure. I performed my own random act of kindness this morning in honor of my daughter. My day was long and griefy. I got home and my boyfriend(Violet’s dad) gave me Ben’s Bell. Someone had left it in a tree near his truck. It was just what my soul needed. Thank you for allowing me to know your son and be a part of this kindness.
I found myself having somewhat of a stressful day today at work (I am a RN in Phoenix) so I decided to head out and get away during lunchtime. I caught a glimpse of something colorful hanging in a tree by my car–a beautiful Ben’s Bell. I read the tag attached and later looked up the website. I was so moved by this project, especially the story behind it, as I, too, have lost a child. It’s almost as if the bell found me instead of me finding the bell. I immediately knew where this bell would hang – 9 years ago we had planted a gorgeous, flower blooming tree in our backyard to honor our son Trey’s memory and it would be perfect for this bell! So after work today I told my family about this bell and tonight we hung it on a branch. Thank you a million times for making me smile today and reminding me that kindness does go a long way.
Jeannette and Dean, Ben’s parents and the founders of Ben’s Bells tell the story of their son and the meaning behind the bells. Please take a moment to read about it here
Our simple acts of kindness to strangers as we go about our days are as important as those shown to our loved ones. As you travel through life remember that your choice to be kind will light a dark day for another.
Peace and Kindness to you~