Way back in January of this year, I wrote about a heartwarming tale of kindness in Of Kindness and Pound Cake: Hope for 2019. I believe there’s a power in a tiny act of kindness that can vanquish a huge act of evil but in the hustle, bustle and hurly-burly of real life it’s easy to forget kindness…so I kinda’ thought my own article was bull$hit.
Now, I’m not so sure.
Imagine this: You’re having a terrible day. One of those “no good rotten very bad” days. Everything’s gone wrong. You spilled on your favorite shirt on the way to work. Your boss is pissed off at you. A co-worker stole your work. And your dog puked all over the carpet just as you ran out the door late for work. Big mess. A no good rotten day for sure.
Then, going through the McDonalds drive-thru for much-needed comfort food, you’re told that the person in front of you just paid for your lunch. Just one tiny $7.95 act of kindness and it feels like the brittle shell over your heart breaks! The sun shines again. Birds sing. Flowers smile. A tear drops.
That’s the power of kindness and so many of you have been extraordinarily kind to Michael and me this year. You gave and gave of your comments, your encouragement, your advice, your suggestions and when we were blindsided, you donated for his surgery, his Enchroma glasses, his new chompers and even some for the ol’ caregiver!!! We’re extraordinarily grateful and blessed.
Maybe it’s the relaxation that comes when you’re not constantly warding off the next blow of narcissistic abuse. Maybe it’s the peace that comes when you realize “it wasn’t me.” But when you get through the worst of recovery (hate that word!) from narcissistic abuse, it becomes easier to be kind to people. There’s just more bounce in your bungee. And it helps if, like in my family, you saw kindness modeled. How well I remember packing the Operation Christmas Child box with my mom (only five days left to donate!!!), longing for the cool toys in the box, but learning from Mom that it was more blessed to give than to receive. Looking back, I had plenty of toys!
I have a rule of thumb: If someone comes to mind three times, that’s your cue to contact them. Sometimes just to say “Hello, how ya doing?” It might be a Divine Appointment.
It’s kinda like the 5-second rule with dropped food…only better.
Several years ago, I sent my friend a picture of my extraordinarily stupid doxiepoo with her head stuck inside an empty Dorito bag.
My friend wrote back, “Oh! I needed that today. I’ve been feeling terribly suicidal and you made me laugh.”
I didn’t know she felt suicidal. I just had a very dumb doxiepoo, staggering blindly around the house with Dorito powder behind her ears and thought, “This is too good to keep to myself!”
Or maybe you find a picture of your old school that was razed years ago because “that’s progress they say, but what a price to pay” and post it in a Facebook group for your fellow alumni. That tiny act of kindness has “made the day” of hundreds who have fond memories of roaming those halls.
Maybe your garden runneth over. Do you know how much it means to your neighbors to have fresh vegetables grown by your own lily white hands!? I will never, to my dying day, forget the funny man with slicked back hair, smoking like a chimney, who always left cucumbers on our step at home. I’ll never forget him and I’ll never forget those funny looking cucumbers. So different from the ones at the grocery store and so much more flavorful and crisp. What was his name? We just called him “Mary’s son.”
When frost nips the nose of your garden, Jack Frost paints the windows in icy ferns and all the flowers dry out, offer your neighbors the dried flower seed pods for their gardens next year!
Ever since we moved up here, I’ve wanted to grow Morning Glories to twine around the mailbox posts. But I was a chicken shit! I didn’t know our neighbors well enough to know if they’d mind me messing about with their malbox.
Now I kick myself because they love it! Even though the bank of four mailboxes isn’t technically on my property, the neighbor who owns that patch of land carefully trims around the Morning Glory vines. There’s even a competition! Some vines did better than others this year leading to facetious allegations of “favoritism” and “Huh! How do you rate!”
Just a few of last years’ seed pods thrown in the ground. But it made everyone, and the mailman, a little happier.
Of course, it can go too far especially if you’re a codependent (bless our little hearts.) We can’t fix everything and not everything has to be fixed. Life will never be perfect. As much as I hate to admit it, life will always have a few threads hanging from her hem, a pearl missing from her necklace and her ducks are never in a row.
Kindness doesn’t really take money. Just time, attention, a little creativity.
If you make a recipe from someone’s book, let ’em know. My Fat Dad is one of the best culinary/psychology/family/autobiographical books I’ve ever read (over and over!) and author, Dawn Lerman’s, recipe for Mushroom Miso Soup is delicious and healthy on steroids! So when I made it, I just popped Dawn Lerman a PM through Facebook to tell her it was delicious and she replied, “You just made my night.”
What’d that take me, like two seconds?
Maybe this kindness thing isn’t bullshit after all. So let’s keep it going.
Call me superstitious, but if someone comes to mind three times, get off your ass and do something about it. You might save their life.
PM/DM/tweet/email or, fancy this, actually physically send them a handwritten card, letter or postcard. It’s not like we even have to put forth the effort to lick stamps anymore! (Yes, in the far off olden days of the 1980s, old fogies like me actually licked stamps!)
Maybe you have something you don’t ever look at…and you know someone who’ll love having it. So pop it in a box and send it off with teabags and other bits and bobs tucked in odd corners! It’s not about money. It’s about having fun scouring your home for little things that’ll put a smile on someone else’s face. I once traded earrings for books. I got beautiful art and C. S. Lewis books; Nana and my other friends got several pairs of earrings. Win-win!
Just little things. Tucking in the tag on a lady’s blouse for her. Telling someone they have toilet paper stuck to their shoe or lipstick on their teeth. Giving someone a flowering weed or wild flower or starting a plant for them in a styrofoam cup. Tiny acts of kindness can turn your world right-side-up and melt everyone’s tired, jaded, self-defensive, crusty old hearts.
So I’m sticking to my guns. Kindness isn’t bullshit after all.
Who’s come to your mind three times recently? Go and be kind to them! It may be a Divine Appointment.
Thanks for reading! To read more of my “stuff,” please visit: www.lenorathompsonwriter.com/reluctantcook