Friday, May 10, 2013

Kindness – Every Little Bit Helps

It is sometimes difficult to believe in the goodness of the human race when there is such evil, violence and despicable acts splashed across most news sites.

A fond memory of mom
It can be difficult to see the goodness even for a Pollyanna like me, especially if I’m feeling under the weather – which I am due to a dental implant gone wrong.  As my daughter succinctly pointed out, I have become one of “those” stories – the horror stories people repeat to each other about medical procedures gone as wrong as you can imagine.

Here I am on pain medication and antibiotics with a raging infection in my mouth, swelling in my jaw and on a forced diet because I can only open my mouth wide enough to fit in the tiniest bits of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (on the softest bread possible and absolutely no crust because even that is hard to chew).   

I guess pizza is a bad idea for dinner tonight.

I’m trying to get some work done from home today but it’s difficult to avoid the news.  The situation in Ohio is nothing short of horrific which is one reason we want to crown a hero.  People want to balance out the evil – let’s see some good!  Yay!  The women were saved by someone not afraid to get involved and not willing to ignore screaming from the neighbor’s house.  We have a hero! 

Then, for some odd reason, we want to dig up all the dirt possible on this man.    

Guess what?  People are not perfect.  People make mistakes – big mistakes (and, believe me, spousal abuse is a big mistake).  These mistakes cannot define a person, however.  These are pieces of a person’s life – some good, some really awful. 

I really don’t know anything about Charles Ramsey other than he, along with Angel Cordero, is credited with helping Amanda Berry escape her tormentor.  That is kindness.  Their efforts go a long way toward restoring our faith in the goodness of humans.  Maybe it even helps him make peace with his past mistakes. 

It’s such a simple concept: Be kind.  Spread kindness.  Do something kind for someone.  It doesn’t have to be huge because the ripples of kindness go beyond what we can even imagine. 

I believe people want to be kind.  Everyone wants to make a difference – to have an impact and to find a purpose to being here.  When my mom was dying of liver cancer, she struggled to know what her purpose had been.  She wasn’t famous or even outgoing but she was kind.  While she wondered what her purpose was, she tipped the cashier at the McDonald’s drive-thru.   She packed a bag full of groceries out of her cupboards when her daughter was struggling as a single mom.  She even threw in a box of dryer sheets because her daughter thought it was too extravagant to spend $3.50 on dryer sheets when every penny counted.

Throughout her life, Mom had also been depressed, suicidal and drank too much boxed wine.

None of these pieces of her solely defined her.  She was made up of kindness and a complicated life and poor coping skills.  In the end, it was her kindness that won out. 

We visited her favorite beach before she died and she made friends with a small boy who decided Mom was the one person on the entire beach he wanted to share his starfish with.  She spent time with him and made that moment on the beach memorable for me, watching my mom exude kindness.   Who knows how that kindness rippled through the boy’s life (or mine)?

 These small bits of kindness add up and make it easier to believe in the goodness of people. 

Let’s find the goodness and kindness in ourselves and share it with the world.  Even in bits as small as my peanut butter and jelly sandwich. 

Happy Mother’s Day, mom!  Your kindness is missed. 

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