Thursday, September 27, 2012

Free hugs and other weird RAKs

Hey y'all,

Thanks for coming back. No, really, thank you. The response I got for just starting this blog was overwhelming and made me feel really good about myself on the inside. I'm very blessed to have each and every one of you stop by and let me know what you thought.

On that note, I've got a lot to live up to now. So let's get started, huh?

I want to talk about random acts of kindness. Mostly because I think people talk about them too much. This makes me ironic. IRONY. TOP SCORE (video may or may not include cursing).

But here's where I think culture has it wrong. I hear a lot of people talk about random acts of kindness, regardless of their worldview. In our culture we see entire Ellen episodes dedicated to people who did something kind for someone out of pure altruism. And so we like to talk about how doing randomly nice things for other people is so...randomly nice. It's all very swell when you think about it.

But how many times have you been randomly kind to someone? Of course, it would be great to be consistently kind to people. But personally I can't think of a time I've ever actually deliberately done something incredibly random, whimsical, or loving in such a way for somebody; something that takes me out of my own way. Makes me feel like this guy.

Incidentally (or deliberately, you decide) there's this group on campus called Random Acts of Kindness. They are kind of an odd group: every event they put on includes the word "hug" in its name, including one called "Hug The Lake." I participated in HTL last year, but am still quite unsure what they actually do for it.

One of my really good friends (who's one of the bigger inspirations in my life and faith) is president or something of RAK. I don't really know. I just know he puts just as much time into it as anything else he does (and he does a lot). This always struck me as weird, but I soon learned why.

RAK randomly (see what I did there?) puts on these events called "Free Hug Days." Now, this seems like a grand idea. Who doesn't like hugs (other than Howie Mandel)? There is one problem with this, however, and I discovered so when passing my buddy on FHD a couple of weeks ago. If y'all aren't aware of Miami's climate, let me tell you one thing: it's hot. I mean, very hot. It was probably in the mid 90's that day, and the humidity made the air thicker than your mother's meat loaf. It makes you sweat like a horse (do horses sweat? My dad says so). Add in a few stressful University of Miami classes and you do NOT want somebody in the EXACT same situation as you to make any bodily contact with you. None.

Yet that's exactly what RAK did. I walk through the courtyard outside of what's basically our student center and I see about five RAKers in sweat-drenched, what-used-to-be bright t-shirts approaching every unsuspecting (or unwilling) UM student to give them a sloppy, we-just-both-hopped-in-a-pool-but-not-really hug. Ew.

I was weirded out by the whole situation. I gave my buddy one of those hand-shake half-hug things and caught up for a little bit. I didn't really give any more thought on the matter until later that day. It was then I realized that it wasn't about the sloppy hugs or hippie lake events for RAK. RAK consists of a bunch of nontraditional UM students that, regardless of their worldview, care about and love people enough to take time out of their busy days to make someone else's.

I think we should all try to be like RAKers. Maybe not get really sweaty and hug people but try to actually take time out of our days to make somebody else happy. And this shouldn't be by accident--we should be deliberate with our random acts of kindness. Jesus is very deliberate and meticulous with his plans; nothing, in actuality, happens randomly with Him. The reason our culture calls these acts of kindness "random" is because they seem random to the recipient, not to the giver.

So make an effort sometime this week not to open a door for somebody or smile at someone having a bad day (still do these things, of course) but to buy somebody's groceries, buy a meal for a homeless person, offer to carry somebodies books for them across campus. Ok, I'm being very cheesy.  But I'm sure y'all can come up with much better ways to make someone think that you're really off your rocker with love.

A guy named Bob Goff wrote this really cool book called "Love Does." His thesis, if he has one, is that love doesn't think, plan, sit back, or look pretty. Love does. Love is a practical, living, and powerful concept that takes chances and isn't afraid of putting itself out there. This abstract yet visible notion he attributes to something called "whimsy," which if I remember correctly means something like doing random acts of love. Jesus loves surprises.

So go out and do love, do whimsy, do things that seem random to everybody else but completely normal to you. You'll make a lot of friends. Promise.


P.S. So what'd ya think? Lemme know by commenting, posting on my fb, tweeting at me (@tycoondog), or otherwise make it known how you feel. If it sucks, bear with me. I'll inevitably get better. Also, subscribe to my blog on the right hand side of your screen either by entering your email into the blog (I don't actually see your email, you just get notified when I post) or subscribe with atom or whatever that internet subscription thing is called. Much love!

*Note: all links on this page are safe to click on. The YouTube video might contain some minor bad language. Sorry I'm not sorry.


  1. Looks Good Coondiggidy. I like it a lot and give me a call when you get a minute from blogging. lol

  2. This one time, I bought the person behind me's food at a drive through. The workers were very confused- "do you know them?" no. "So then. . .?" just a random act of kindness. . . "Uh. Okay. Cool!"