Today I write about kindnesses that I have observed and that have been extended to me, to others, to those I love, and to perfect strangers. Humanity is a strange and complex thing. When it is extended to others for no reason other than to be kind, gentle, thoughtful and caring, it warms my heart deep down to my soul. Today I point out a few people whose kindnesses are observed, valued, and appreciated:
My partner, the love of my life. Each day, I observe what he does to make my life easier. He carries out lots of actions at home “behind the scenes” to free up my time so I can carry on the crazy-busy life that I lead. He is my cheerleader and champion. When I came home the other day a bit dejected about an issue at work, he listened. Then he gave me support by describing my skills that I can engage to overcome this challenge. He demonstrated how much he believes in me. How blessed I am to have him as my best half.
My best friend, AZ, has been pulled many different directions in the past month, what with buying a home, yet caring for two dear friends who were hospitalized and needed attention which he freely gave without equivocation. Further, a close mutual friend has been going through a very rough time. AZ has expressed in thought, word, and deed how compassionate, thoughtful, and caring he is. It is no wonder why I adore him so much, as my adopted eighth brother.
Mrs. K, one of my “elder buds,” who learned from me that my aunt needed to get exercise every day. Without asking, Mrs. K shows up at my aunt’s door and says, “let’s take a walk.” Gently, carefully, and slowly, they stroll around the neighborhood. They stop to observe baby fawns, families of geese parading their young, and squirrels playing in the trees. To hear my aunt describe what she sees is wonderful. What a kind, sweet, thoughtful daily gesture that my friend, Mrs. K, extends to my aunt because Mrs. K likes me. She never knew my aunt until a month ago, and now they’re fast friends. What a joy, what sheer delight, in receiving this help for someone who I love dearly.
Man on Metro. I do not know this gentleman’s name, but I see him regularly on my ride home from the office. Without fail, he assists people — lost tourists trying to figure out the confusing Metro map and system, older or disabled people who need a seat, or just picking up discarded newspapers. He demonstrates thoughtfulness in all he does. He thinks no one notices. I do. He sets a great example for me.
G, the grocery store associate. She greets us by name every time we go to the store when she is there. She mentions good buys to consider. She is joyful, friendly, and such a happy person that you can’t help but smile. She puts up with a lot of grief from the me-me-me people who go to the store and complain about stupid stuff, yet always, she demonstrates kindness in a thousand ways.
F, a mentee. I am working with her on a vexing local issue in my community. She listens exceptionally well, communicates with clear and concise understanding and grasp of difficult details, yet with humor and grace. While I am teaching her the finer points of community service and activism, she is teaching me about working with people who do not always “get it.” What a great team we have made. Oh, did I mention, I just love her smile, too.
O, a very hard working man in our community. He works from sun-up to sun-down seven days a week, earning a meager income to support his family both here where we live and in his home country. He never complains, and he always is working. Rain, sun, heat, cold, whatever… he is a true demonstration of what “work ethic” means. And he does all of his work with kindness and thoughtfulness to those for whom he provides service. As if they were his family. He teaches me that despite ignorant comments directed his way about his situation in life, that actions speak louder than words.
Kindness means a lot to me. I observe it in others, and try to emulate the good things I observe in what I do.
Life is short: be kind to others.