Giving Thanks

How Your Small Act Of Kindness Is Bigger Than You Know

August 12, 2013

It was a smile from a stranger that got me to mile 5.

I’m sure, absolutely certain, really, of what my face looked like just seconds before she smiled at me. Utter exhaustion.

Rounding the corner and my run tracker tells me I’ve hit mile 3.99. With 5 miles as my goal, this was good and bad news–at this particular intersection, it felt more bad than good. Still another mile to go.

God, let me finish. 


Image source: Pinterest

It was both a prayer and plea–the exhausted sighs of a total non-runner gasping for the faux finish line of my front door.

That very moment, right as I tipped my head to heaven and huffed hard to the corner sign, that’s when her white car slowed for the turn. I bounced on the balls of my feet waiting to cross and if I’d blinked I’d have missed it.

But I didn’t blink.

I didn’t turn my head to look for potential traffic coming from the left. I stared right through her drivers side window as she rounded the corner. Time slowed and the neighborhood noise fell away for a split second. I caught sight of her eyes, her obviously sympathetic and encouraging eyes, and then, her smile.

In case you think she was probably already smiling and this is all a delirium inspired by the strange somewhat euphoric mental space that one can enter when running, I want to be clear that I saw the birth of the smile. It was most definitely intended for me. it wasn’t just her mouth–in her eyes too, I saw the sympathetic look, a look that said “hang in there, honey, you got this, you’re almost home“.

Of course she was a stranger and had no way of knowing if I was in fact almost home, but I’m a woman of faith and when I sigh prayers heavenward I believe God answers. This seemingly random smile from a stranger was my answer.

This tiny, practically insignificant exchange was the thing that got me through that last mile.

I hit my goal.


Pushing onward home I thought about that moment at the corner, the power of a simple act that costs the doer virtually nothing, but offers the receiver a gift immeasurable.

How many opportunities in a day are there for these tiny acts of kindness? I wonder–and what keeps us from doing them?

A smile is in fact, an act of kindness.

A smile can be an answered prayer.

Thanks, smiling stranger in the white car. Your generosity got me through that last mile. For this reluctant runner, that’s huge.

Want to do something awesome?

I’m training for a quarter-marathon–that’s 6 miles for you non-runner people. But I am not running this for my own personal achievement. (I dont like running enough to do that)

I’m racing for Compassion International–a ministry for which I am an advocate.

My fundraising goal is $500. (So far, I’ve raised $200 of that.) The money raised by this run will go to Compassion’s emergency medical fund, which provides various life-saving medical treatment to those who otherwise could not afford proper care. This money? It’s life-saving.

Let this be your small act of kindness.  It’s bigger than you know.  (click this link to give)

The deadline is fast approaching. My race is August 25th.

Friends, I don’t often ask this, but would you kindly share this post in your various social media circles? Perhaps someone you know can help me reach my goal (smiling, gratefully).

Counting on, beyond my 1000 Gifts

  • Sunday afternoon games
  • reading to my littlest
  • family dinner
  • alone time
  • the joy of friends
  • sunshine
  • dwindling days of summer
  • hot coffee
  • learning to eat healthier (this is the hard eucharisteo)
  • running 5 miles
  • smiles from strangers
  • new mercies
  • old hymns
  • a mentor (a prayer prayed for over 2 years)


Sharing this post in community with Ann, Laura, and Michele



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  • Reply Mary Bonner August 12, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    I understand about the smile from a stranger. This post warms my heart my friend. Thank you for sharing. As always, you have wise words of wisdom to share.

    • Reply Kris Camealy August 13, 2013 at 6:48 pm

      Thanks Mary, for commenting here and encouraging me. I count you among my greatest blessings, girlfriend. Can NOT wait to see you at Refine!!!

  • Reply Linda@Creekside August 12, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    yes to tiny acts of kindness, whispers of smiles, energy to walk/run/leap …

  • Reply Shelly Miller August 12, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    We just never know do we, the kind of impact something random can make for someone else? Loved this. I just rode my bike and I know that tug to quit but keep going and finish. Trusting God will bring the money in right alongside your faithfulness.

    • Reply Kris Camealy August 13, 2013 at 6:51 pm

      Shelly, our chat yesterday was such a highlight for me. God is already speaking things into my heart and this race, this stepping out feels like His nudge. And yes–it’s these small, seemingly insignificant acts of kindness that can truly change lives. Why don’t we remember that? I can picture you pedaling along on your lovely new bike… 😉

  • Reply kelli woodford August 12, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Love this, Kris. Shows that indeed little is much when God is in it.

    • Reply Kris Camealy August 13, 2013 at 6:51 pm

      Indeed–when God is in it… love that. ((hugs))

  • Reply Lisa notes... August 12, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    I so love this, Kris! I’ve been the one to receive that smile too when I used to run, and it always made a difference. Now I have to be the one giving that smile since I no longer run, but I love doing it because of knowing how important such a little thing can be.

    Proud of you for taking on this goal.

    • Reply Kris Camealy August 13, 2013 at 6:52 pm

      Lisa, your words here are SO encouraging! Thank you for this supportive hug of kindness. I feel loved!

  • Reply Kim Adams Morgan August 12, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    So many small things can make such a big impact to people; we will never know how big sometimes. Take Compassion Intl. Such an amazing organization helping so many, love love love them!!! Your post made me smile today.

    • Reply Kris Camealy August 13, 2013 at 6:52 pm

      Awe, so glad you were encouraged, Kim. Compassion is a truly beautiful ministry.

  • Reply Lindsay Stevenson August 12, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    So true that a smile alone can make your day. Good for you on your run. Running for the benefit of others makes it even better.

    • Reply Kris Camealy August 13, 2013 at 6:53 pm

      Indeed. I have no desire to run for my own reasons really, I’m more of a group aerobics girl, myself, but I enjoy the challenge of pushing my body for this cause. Compassion and the children touched by this ministry are well worth my small sacrifice.

  • Reply Nikki August 13, 2013 at 12:02 am

    Oh those glimpses of glory…so love how you see them, friend. and then share them with us. Oh what He can do with us — even when we feel small…

    • Reply Kris Camealy August 13, 2013 at 6:54 pm

      Even when we feel small–that is it, Nikki. Yes. He makes much out of tiny things. He is the great multiplier of grace.

  • Reply AnnVoskamp_HolyExperience August 13, 2013 at 1:34 am

    I love you.

    • Reply Kris Camealy August 13, 2013 at 6:55 pm

      Ann, you are the gift. How blessed I am to call you friend. Love YOU!

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  • Reply Laura Boggess August 13, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    Good for you, Kris! You are doing wonderful work, too. Cheering you on from here. You don’t look like a total non-runner to me!

    • Reply Kris Camealy August 13, 2013 at 6:56 pm

      Thanks, Laura. I appreciate your cheers more than you know. I think I spend the majority of my runs talking myself into finishing. I find running to be so difficult. Your cheers mean the world to me!!

  • Reply Hazel Moon August 13, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    I made a small donation in your name. Run Girl !!

    • Reply Kris Camealy August 13, 2013 at 10:31 pm

      God bless you, Hazel. No donation is small. YOU are a gift!!

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