If it had rained one hot July day in 2011, I would not be writing this column.
If I had felt too tired by my depression to take my kids to the city pool, I would not have a found my purpose.
If one teenage mom in a shiny gold bikini had been too proud to accept the money I offered, I would not have discovered the power of kindness to transform a life.
The life I transformed that day wasn't the young mother's life - it was mine. I gave her some money because something in my heart told me to do it. She never asked; I just knew I was in the right place at the right time.
Something magical happened because of that brief interaction. I got my joy back. I learned that loving other people gets our eyes off ourselves.
When we cut ourselves off from others, we lose our ability to uncover the plan that has been laid out for our lives.
When we're too busy to look someone in the eye, smile and truly connect for even a moment, we stay stagnant and alone.
Great things happen when people come together for an afternoon at the pool, or perhaps for a night in the theater.
The Act Up Theatre troupe in Fargo-Moorhead is an organization for high school and college students to present musicals that deal with social justice and social health issues. This weekend, Act Up is presenting a musical at NDSU called "The Theory of Relativity," which focuses on the theme of human connections and the problems that arise from personal isolation.
Through songs and monologues, the cast will create an array of characters whose lives intersect as they share stories about home, childhood, family, love and loss.
The mission through the show is to help people connect in a world that is increasingly disconnected and they are doing that outside the theater as well.
The cast has been out and about this summer, carrying postcards with simple messages like, "I'm sorry," "I'm nothing without you," "I need you" and "You matter to me."
Act Up's artistic director, Rebecca Meyer-Larson, explains the postcard plan:
"We are encouraging people to send them to reconnect with the vital people who have shaped their lives.
"We will ask every person who sees 'The Theory of Relativity' to personalize a postcard for someone they need to connect/reconnect with. We will mail any cards brought to the show. The goal is to make a measurable difference in a disconnected world."
"The Theory of Relativity" is now being performed by Act Up through Sunday, Aug. 5, North Dakota State University's Askanase Auditorium. Tickets are available at https://actuptheatre.org/ or by calling 701-552-5469.
Even if you can't make it to the show, I hope you'll stop to reflect on those beautiful fate-filled moments in your life when you connected with another human. Then, go out and make some more.
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at email@example.com. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107.