This year has found me surprised in many ways; the kindness of strangers is just one of the ways I have found myself pleasantly surprised. It seems that because there are no preconceived notions, or shoulds, that often times a conversation with a stranger can sometimes be more gratifying than an interaction with someone you've known for some time...or perhaps even your entire life.
Strangers don't assume anything about you. There's no unwritten rule book, and there are no family patterns that need to be adhered to; I find myself being myself with a complete stranger much more readily than with someone I've known for a while. I made a new friend this year, and the other day I outright confessed to her that I find the Christmas so-called "cards" that everyone now sends totally ostentatious. She laughed.
You know the ones I'm talking about: the strips of paper (therefore not cards) with pictures of people's kids on them, with the preprinted message/address/return address, and not a lick of pen anywhere to be found.
I realize they're easy, but...they're just not for me. If someone wants a picture of my kid this year for Christmas, they're going to have to ask.
I've learned to assume nothing. This Thanksgiving, I find myself grateful for the people who populate my life...and the company and kindness of strangers...in equal measure.