photo via Sloan Photographers
I heard a song on the radio the other day, and I only caught one line of it, but it was talking about how the world needs all kinds of kinds in it. She was actually referring to all kinds of people, but I immediately thought of how the world needs all kinds of kindness in it. We certainly live in a world full of all kinds of people, and that’s what makes living in it so fascinating. Each individual is unique and wondrous in their own right. How boring it would be if we were all exactly the same, like plain spice with no sugar. I love sugar! But our differences will ignite conflict sometimes, its been that way since the beginning of time. We will not agree with everyone. People may drives us crazy at times. But, if we can learn to infuse a little more kindness into the world around us everyday, then our world would undoubtably, become a better place.
A few days after my Mom passed away, my siblings and I were at the funeral home planning her funeral. I then got a call from my Dad who was in tears and said I needed to come home, the paramedics were there, and my baby who was 2 at the time just had a seizure. I couldn’t believe the timing. I was terrified because her last seizure was very serious and we could have lost her. I raced back home, and luckily she seemed to be fine, but they insisted we take her in to see her Doctor right then. My Husband and I took her into the Doctor and I remember I instantly broke down into tears. The Doctor seemed a little surprised and I said, “My Mom just died 2 days ago too.” That poor Doctor felt so bad and she said, “I am so sorry, I didn’t even know your Mom was ill.” After that I went to pick up her medicine and I was in line at Wal-Mart of all places. It was crowded and hot and I just wanted to leave. I looked around at everyone and I distinctly remember wanting to yell out and say, “Don’t you even know that my Mom just died, and my baby is sick and just had a seizure. Now I have to suffer through grief, and I can feel anxious episodes of anxiety returning and it’s scaring me to death. I am worn out and tired from taking care of four young kids, and a sick Mom. I want to just go into a dark hole and hide until everything goes away. Don’t you people even care?” No doubt this sounds crazy, but it’s what I was thinking at the time.
I used to be the kind of person that thought trials did nothing for me, except ruin my life. You know the people that say they love trials and are so grateful for them? Well, I certainly wasn’t that way, ever. I didn’t think there was anything to learn from trials, except that I was even more impatient than I previously, already knew. With my first bout of anxiety years ago, I suffered in silence and I just wanted to get better and never talk about it, and that’s what I did. After losing my Mom and going through anxiety again, this time around was a different story. Suffering through grief is exhausting. Grief is so hard to deal with. It drains you physically, mentally, and emotionally. But, I was given so many acts of kindness from so many people it was amazing. People I hardly knew were bringing in meals, helping to clean my house, flowers were sent, cards were brought, my kids were taken care of. My eyes were open to the beauty of kindness and compassion that existed all around me. So many people said they had no idea my Mom was sick, or that anything was going on. The random acts of service and love helped me through these trials.
As time went on and I healed, for the first time I looked back and saw the blessings and the lessons learned through that trial. The greatest lesson that I learned was, I had a new-found compassion for all mankind. Sympathy and empathy for others had a whole new meaning in my life. I realized that we have no idea the struggles that people are going through. Just like people had no idea that I was struggling, we have no idea what is really going on in someone else’s life, behind closed doors. I started to look at people differently. I started to cut people more slack. If someone was in a bad mood, I would remind myself that maybe they are dealing with some serious issues right now, and it wasn’t anything against me. The truth is, we all struggle. No matter how much or little money you have, no matter where you live, or the cars your drive, or the shape you are in, we all have our own battles to fight. We will never know of the wars that are being fought in the recesses of another persons mind. Instead of judging so much, its time we all show more kindness, compassion, sympathy, and love to those around us.
Let’s try to not take things so personally anymore. If someone comes home in a bad mood, it probably has nothing to do with you, they are fighting a battle that day. Instead of snapping back at them, pay them a compliment. Tell your spouse how grateful you are for them working so hard. Tell your kids how glad you are that they are part of your family, even if they tell you they hate you that day. Smile at strangers. Find small ways to serve those around you. Try random acts of kindness. I promise you that no matter what front people put up in their lives, they all struggle with something. The truth is we all need each other. Kindness can mend a broken heart. Kindness can heal a wounded soul. Kindness will change the lives of those around you, and also your own. Toss out your old, judgemental ways of dealing with other people. Try a new approach that is more loving, kind, and positive, and you will see miraculous changes in your life. If you look for the good in others, you will find it. Let us sow the seeds of kindness, and reap the rewards. “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.” George Washington Carver
Hope On. Journey On.