On Sunday, I had time to spare while I waited for my favorite fabric store in Savannah to open, and I ended up wandering into the used book store next door. A few steps below ground level takes you into a place with floor to ceiling book shelves filled with as many books as possible, and additional piles of books all around. It has the distinct smell of old books that I find comforting, and it was there that I found Chicken Soup for the Soul. No, silly, not actual chicken soup. You may have of heard of this book before, and it’s compilation of heartwarming short stories (sans noodles). I read Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul when I was in junior high, and since I happened to stumble upon the classic, adult version, I decided to go ahead and purchase it for a few dollars.
So far, I am only several stories in (there are over 100), and up until this afternoon, I was afraid that this book was going to continue be cheesy. And then, I found myself holding back tears in the middle of a coffee shop. This post isn’t about re-telling the particular story or summarizing it, I just want to share how it was the exact kind of “chicken soup” that I needed today.
To all of my GGS readers, it probably won’t come as a surprise to you that the story was love based, but not in a way that I’ve thought about before. I think we all have a tendency to think of expressions of love as being romantic or mushy ones. And then there are those expressions of self-love through positive affirmations and self-care. Nevertheless, the story in Chicken Soup for the Soul exemplified how love can truly be in everything we do. The little things we often do without a second thought can be expressions of love. Complimenting someone or saying “hello” or “thank you” with a smile can go a long way. At work, helping out a friendly customer who goes out of their way to be kind and respectful to me as well always made me feel better when I was down. What I love most about my job at Agnes & Orson (an adorable gift shop in Dayton, Ohio that I started working at in November of my senior year of high school, that I now work at whenever I am not in school in Savannah) are those positive interactions with the people who shop there. Meeting and connecting with new people adds so much to my life. I know that this is not a particularly revolutionary or profound example, but that is the point.
We don’t talk about small interactions like opening a door for someone, or asking them how their day was with true, open, compassionate ears. It is important to recognize, cherish, and pass on these small acts of kindness. It may not seem like it at first, but the little things will turn into big things because these acts of kindness are acts of love. What the story in Chicken Soup for the Soul explained was that you can use love to help people. You never know what someone is going through and these little acts of love can really help lift their spirit. I wish I could go back and tell some of the people who have helped me what a difference their actions have made in my life (although, it isn’t too late!). I remember reading somewhere that love pulsates around us, and I am beginning to understand how.
“Love is life is love.” -Diane Von Furtenberg
What do you think? Have you read Chicken Soup for the Soul? I would love to hear your response to this in the comment section! Thank you so much for reading, and as always….