Uncategorized, Unschooling

Lessons in kindness . . .

Thank you memecenter.org for this fantastic image. I think I just might make one of my own one of these.
Thank you memecenter.org for this fantastic image. I think I just might make one of my own one of these.

Last night was one of those nights where as my head finally hit the pillow, I felt that instant release of pure exhaustion and then immediately after total fulfillment. Last night I drifted off to thoughts of how truly wonderful and miraculous our world is. And this morning as I think on yesterday, I feel just generally awesome. Too good to keep it to myself and so here I am. I must share!
It started with a conversation with my mom. Sitting with our coffee in the quiet of the house, the summer breeze flowing in through the windows, it was one of those many memorable conversations that seems to flow so easily between the two of us. I mention these details because it sets the tone for how I was feeling in the moment; gratitude. Grateful for the warmth of summer, for my comfy jammies, my cozy home, my favorite coffee in my favorite mug and for the friendship I share with my mom, the ability to talk so openly about the deeper things of life, to share our perspectives.
One of the things we discussed is how random acts of kindness, no matter how small they may seem, are so very powerful. My mom has taught me, by example, some really good habits. One of them just happens to be the practice of showing kindness to others, from a smile to paying a compliment to stepping in to help someone in need. Traveling, as I have been lately, has afforded me many opportunities to do just that. I was sharing with her, a few examples of these instances and we both agreed: these random acts of kindness, small or big, have the power to make a difference in not just the lives of others but yours too. You never know who just may need that extra boost of confidence or just how much your offer of help will restore someone’s faith. It costs nothing and the rewards are priceless.
Yesterday, I saw the power of those thoughts made manifest and I learned that kindness not only begets kindness but it is entirely contagious.
Just a few hours later after that coffee talk, my mom called me from our workplace (we both work at the same place) and said there were two elderly ladies who had stopped in for a rest. They had been shopping in town and were on their way back home (walking) when they were overtaken by the heat. They needed a ride and she asked if I would come get them. I grabbed up my keys and shoes and headed out the door. Of course I could do that.
The women were so taken aback and so so grateful. I would say they even felt a little guilty and I hate that the present human condition breeds such a feeling. Why should it be that we feel so guilty for putting anyone else out, why should we feel that we are not worthy of such treatment, why is it kindness for our fellow man is such an out of the ordinary concept? But it is and that is exactly what makes these random acts of kindness so powerful.
We settled in, and got to visit just a little on our short trip. And when I pulled up at the first little lady’s house, she was insistent I not get out and help her to the door. It was difficult for me, but I respected that and then I sat back and watched as something pretty incredible happened. As she was ascending the steps of her porch, I could see she was struggling and just as I was about to exit the car to help her, another young woman came jogging past. Just beyond the house, she stopped short and doubled back. She held onto the lady as she made her way up the steps and then opened her door for her. Joggers/Runners will tell you it’s very important not to break your stride and yet here she did; a random act of kindness on her part. In that instant, I realized: kindness is contagious.
The little lady turned and with a big smile on her face, she waved at us in the car. We had helped her and she was grateful. I was touched. I then took the other lady home (I regretfully never got either of their names though I swear they must have told me.) and then back home for me.
As I pulled into my driveway, I noticed my 94 year old neighbor (a few houses down) sitting on her front porch alone. I was intending to get back to some “stuff” I was doing when I got the phone call. Okay, I’ll be honest I was binge watching a new show on Netflix and was just two episodes away from seeing how it ends and I was a bit eager to get back to it but I felt really motivated to go check up on her. I vowed I would go sit with her and spend however much time she needed and I felt really good about doing just that. I was about to head over when I had the thought that I would be extra nice to bring her some flowers from my garden. I quickly wrangled up a bouquet and headed over.
As I approached the house, I saw she was on the phone and for a fleeting moment, I considered turning around so as not to interrupt but I had the flowers so I proceeded. My plan was to quietly hand them to her and walk away but as I climbed the steps, she politely said goodbye to her caller and waved me onward, invited me to sit with her. I did.
Within ten minutes, she told me that she had been having a rough time. Her niece, more like a daughter to her was very ill, had suffered a stroke two weeks prior and was not doing well. She was wrought with worry and the fear that she would not recover. Though she knew in her heart, it was what was best, had even prayed before bed that whatever was best would come to be, she was struggling with having to say goodbye. As she spoke and I listened attentively (thinking to myself she needs this, this is why I am here), her phone rang. She answered and within seconds, she cried out “Oh no! No!” . Her niece was gone, had passed in the night. I sat in quiet support, offered my hand and she held it as she spoke on the phone. When she hung up she turned to me and said she was so grateful I was there with her when she got the news. And she was amazed that just out of the blue had decided to bring her flowers. How did I know it was just what she needed and at just the right moment? I can’t rightfully say but knew I had to follow my instinct, listen to my heart. We were both grateful I did. What seemed a random act of kindness turned out to be so much more.
But there’s more to this story!
During our visit, another neighbor of ours (my next door neighbor) had been out working in her garden when it occurred to her also to bring flowers over to our elderly friend. She brought them over, took them into the house and then sat with us on the porch for a bit, as well. This was the second time that day, I witnessed my act of kindness being followed up by another.
And so why should I be surprised when in the course of our conversation when I mentioned that I was trying to work out a strategy to pick up my kids from our friend’s home in New Hampshire, she offered to pick them up for me. She has a home there, just happened to be going back to her home there tomorrow (today) and would be happy to bring them back to New York, upon her return. I had been stressing about how I was going to manage and in that instant felt totally relieved, this was my answer. And quite possibly my reward; a random act of kindness returned to me.
Even if it seems completely inadvertent at times . . . Kindness is contagious. Kind energy cannot help but attract kind energy. Kindness begets kindness.
Let us always BE KIND!
As always love and light . . .
Amber

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