Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Take time for a moment of kindness

I'm going to resist the temptation to go on some kind of rant about the events in Ferguson, Missouri or Cleveland, Ohio. It is so easy for me to get worked up and focus on the negatives of this world. Even without the disturbing events in the news, I get down in the dumps this time of year for a few reasons.

A few months ago, life, both personal and the world in general, were bringing me down. I made a conscious effort to find something positive, even uplifting, you might say. There was this thing going around Facebook that really was all about kindness. I posted on my page that I would do something nice for the first 5 people to say that they would be in and would do something for 5 people. It was about paying kindness forward. Obviously, we should be kind to people as a general rule for life, but this just served to bring it to the forefront of one's mind.

I finished my list of five. The last two haven't gotten theirs yet. I need to get them shipped. The list was an interesting combo of people because some of them were people I knew pretty well and some that I haven't seen for years or don't know them all that well outside of Facebook. This made me have to put more thought into what I did. I had to use Facebook and sometimes other social media sites to get an idea about the person in order to figure out what might be a nice surprise. From the responses of some who got their gifts already, I felt pretty good about what I decided to do for them.  Maybe "Friends" was right about good deeds.

 One response along with a photo of the items popped up on my Facebook feed:
So I had a really bad day today, then my son got the mail and there was a package from Colorado from my old grade school friend, Meg. See I wrote on her pay it forward status and she sent me MINIONS!!!! She also sent me a magnet with one of my favorite quotes on it... "One person can make a difference, and everyone should try." JFK. In fact I had used this quote today at work arguing a point I was trying to make. And did I mention the minions?
Another person also posted a picture of the gift and messages on two different days:
There are some days that I feel like I'm just "not going to make it through the day" today was getting to be one of those days. Then the mail came. Meg this "pay it forward" is literally the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me. I am speechless. You changed my life this afternoon, I can't thank you enough. Even more awesome, you captured the spirit in each of my kids with the pictures you chose and, you don't even know them. You are awesome
I just want you to know, my pay it forward gift is also getting me through this day. This day has been a really crappy one I read your card again and I can breathe. Faith restored in people because of you, Thank you! Some people suck but not everyone sucks!!!
I really felt good after reading the posts. They gave me a boost of happy in my day. It's weird for me to post this because it makes me feel like I'm bragging. While at my therapist's around the time of those Facebook messages, I said, "Okay, I'm going to stop talking now because I'm starting to sound..." She cut me off and said, "No, no you don't. You are not tooting your own horn. Even if you think you are, it would only be a very quiet, "toot, toot." She knew where I was going in my head before I even finished talking. UGH! Maybe that horn is getting louder now. I'm sorry.

Now, it's not just my own kindnesses that got me all warm and fuzzy, so let me make up for my bragging. Seeing others being treated with kindness and complimented makes me feel good, too.

Almost 2 months ago, my parents were involved in a car accident that could have been much worse, but still landed them in the hospital. They both had broken vertebrae and left the hospital wearing braces. One of my brothers and his family took them in because my mom and dad weren't going to be able to manage on their own at their own house. After about a month and a half, they are back at their own house.

Anyway, the outpouring of support and generosity shown toward them from so many people was heartwarming. It helped put me at some ease since I live 1,300-ish miles away. There were cards, flowers, and visits. And, some went beyond that by running errands, bringing them Communion (they are Catholic), making them meals and much more. It is just nice to know that such kindness exists in what can be such a fucked up world.

Another thing going on that brings a lump to my throat has to do with my father-in-law, Jerry. Over this last year, he and my husband have been working on publishing his rodeo photography into a hard cover book. When the idea for doing this came about, Jerry joined Facebook. It gave him the opportunity to reconnect with old friends and people from his days on the rodeo circuit. The kind words, deep respect, and memories people have shown toward him are so touching to read. He, in turn, has shared wonderful words about Shawn and his involvement in the process. It is beautiful to witness.

So, I guess I'm really just trying to point out the importance to, as Ellen DeGeneres says at the end of her show, "be kind to one another."

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