Dangerous Contagions

There are many contagions in the world that people are afraid of catching.  People spend hundreds of dollars buying supplies in order to avoid catching the Ebola virus, SARS, or the Bird Flu.  They may have even been the only people smart enough to convert all of their cash into gold and fill their bathtubs with water in order to avoid the catastrophe that was Y2K when all of the world’s computers became sentient and attacked the human race.  If you don’t remember that happening, you are either under 10 years old or the computers have wiped your memory.  I only hope that I can warn you that you live in the Matrix before they get to me.

Most of these contagions are overblown media extravaganzas.  The level of threat that the average person faces is infinitesimally small.  Not that they shouldn’t be taken seriously, but you and I should not avoid eating chicken (unless you are a vegetarian/vegan) because we are worried about getting influenza of the bird variety.  You can safely ignore 99% of all contagions in the news.

However…there is a contagion that is spreading throughout Lansing.  It is one that is affecting a large portion of the population, and is flying under the radar.  You can find some newspaper reports about it, but by and large the situation is rapidly spreading out of control.  I don’t want to spread alarm, but I think that the Lansing area is soon going to be completely swallowed by it.  It’s going to be worse than the impending Zombie apocalypse.  Our only chance is to embrace the contagion, and hope for the best.

What has me so worried, you ask?  What is it that you have to prepare your family for?

Are you sitting down?  You should be, because what I’m about to tell you is disconcerting, to say the least.

Random acts of kindness are invading the greater Lansing area.  Well…random, by definition, cannot be planned, so maybe my grammar is a little inaccurate.  However, kindness and lending a helping hand is definitely spreading.

Photo Courtesy of Capital Gains Media

I’ve had the immense pleasure of volunteering with Lunch with a Purpose on several occasions.  Lunch with a Purpose was born of a conversation among several friends and their discussion over what to give up for Lent.  They quickly decided that instead of giving something up, they wanted to give something to others.  Thus was born the idea of simply donating one lunch hour a week to lending a helping hand.  Members meet weekly, generally on Thursdays, to assist at various community centers, non-profit agencies, and the like.  The beauty lies in its simplicity.  If you want to help, you simply show up and help.  If you can’t make it a particular week, no love lost.  Co-founder Justin Caine says that he hopes that many of these volunteers can join forces for a common goal, therefore channeling the power of many into one driving force.  Find out where next you can help on Lunch with a Purpose on their website or on their Facebook page.

ePifanyNow prides itself on the “pay it forward” principle (hence the P, the I, and the F in the name).  The group is actually a non-group.  The “members” are simply a dedicated group of individuals who make the world a better place by volunteering, offering kind words to passerby’s, or finding some way to make the world a better place.  Team members are encouraged to share their stories on the website, with the hope that it inspires others to do the same.  The group meets twice a year to have a “Pay it Forward” party, so that you can meet like-minded individuals.

One of the greatest ideas I have ever heard of, The Lansing Ninjas are Lansing’s newest do-gooders.  These four ninjas are literally and metaphorically cloaked in mystery.  These ninjas pop up throughout the city of Lansing, leaving small gifts in order to brighten up a stranger’s day.  These gifts include, but not limited to, gift cards from Biggby’s, CD’s, and candy.  At times they strategically wait to find someone who they think deserves a treat, and other times they hide gifts in the city for the observant pedestrian.  These ninjas offer up a challenge for all Lansing residents to channel their inner ninja, and brighten up someone’s day. Don’t forget to follow them on Twitter @LansingNinjas for up to the second updates on their stealthiness.

If you would like to find out more information on doing good in the capital city, check out Life in Lansing, The Lansing State Journal’s “A Greater Lansing” site, or just go out and do something nice for someone else.  You’d better embrace it, as there is no vaccine nor a cure for doing right by others.