Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. – Leo Buscaglia.
I have been thinking about this blog for weeks. I read various articles, thought about different experiences in my own life and listened to others. It started to snowball and I had visions of this one blog solving world peace.
More Magazine had a great post on Facebook and it brought me back to a more realistic approach.
I might not change the world with my quirky, little blog, but I still think it is important to honor people that have shown or continue to demonstrate genuine kindness. Not only is this a reminder for myself, but maybe an ounce of influence on those around me.
October is breast cancer awareness month. It is also 24 years since my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. We spent late fall, in 1989, scheduling the surgery and understanding the recovery. I was a senior in high school, it was a lot to handle at 18. I will never forget Dr. Thomas Frazier from Bryn Mawr hospital. I can still see him sitting next to me explaining the surgery. He drew images on paper to help me understand the details of the surgery and how he would take care of her. His compassionate kindness was remarkable; it still makes me cry with gratitude today.
Most days, I head into our local YMCA to workout. There is a gentleman at the front desk, named Mike, who always greets me with a welcoming smile. This man has seen me come and go over the past 11 years. Through three pregnancies, wrangling toddlers, stressed by work, struggling with injuries, accompanied by friends and family members; some of the greatest days and some of the darkest days. We have a joke about my Y ID card. Some days I am on top of things and have it with me, some days Pig Pen takes over and I can’t find the darn card to save my life. He always exudes a calm, happy kindness and tells me to have a great day. His demeanor resets my mindset and I appreciate this daily ritual.
My sister in law, Michele, and her husband, Chris, are currently on the top of my list as one of the kindest, big-hearted people I know. They have wanted a family and adoption is the answer for them at this point. They were informed that a slow adoption process can potentially be advanced by opening your home to foster children. Michele and Chris agreed and within a few weeks they received a phone call; there were children in need. Within three hours of that call, they had a baby boy and toddler girl. For what length of time, no one knows.
The courts are working on the case and Michele and Chris have been asked to take in the three older siblings. They agreed without hesitation. From zero to five children in a matter of weeks. The spiritual kindness of these two and the impact they will have on the lives of these five children is astounding.
The town also needs to be recognized as the support they continue to give Michele and Chris through donations of baby gear, clothes, toys and everything else that the children need, is a reminder of the good in people and sense of community.
I have come to the conclusion that happiness resides within and that often our “problems” can be solved by simply changing how we think about them. A great deal of research supports this sentiment. As William James, the philosopher, observed, where we direct attention determines our experience; it determines our life. So we can choose to spend most of our days ruminating about negatives or we can choose to be grateful. This does not mean that we have to be in denial – it simply suggests that at least part of our time we decide to direct our attention to the positives in our life and the world at large and on the things that really matter.
Thank you to all the kind people I know in my life, I aim to follow your lead.