A new friend of mine had one of those weeks where nothings seemed to go right. Some of it was life-changing sorts of stuff, and other things were smaller yet seemed bigger simply because of timing. Oh, and she was also trying to enjoy the last week before her daughter left for her freshmen year of college.
I bring this up only because during the midst of her pain and chaos she brought be an amazing gift, my book. She and her daughter printed out my blog entries from day one, as well as my published articles. There are over 200 entries. She knows that this is the year I am finally allowing myself the time to try and get my writing out on a larger platform and to start that book I keep talking about. She left it on my doorstep and my daughter said, "I don't think you have to start mom. Look at this! You already have a book!" It is three-ring binder that is four inches thick.
Not for the tangible evidence of my efforts but for the kindness behind the gift. I knew what was happening behind the scenes in my friend's life. Why this? For me?
I talked to her and she said that it was just too much. She needed to get outside of her persoanl ick and just do something that felt good. She knew about my goals, yet she knew me well enought to know that I probably needed some prodding. Seeing all of the my work in one place would be a great motivator, and it gave her some time to channel her frustrations into action.
It was humbling that I was the recipient of this. My default reaction to acts of kindness directed my way is that I don't deserve it. Truly, though, it was the best, most perfect thing that anyone could have done for me. Why her and why me, I am not going to dwell on.
What I will think about everytime I see that binder is the power behind kindess. We all know trajedy can strike out of nowhere. But the same is true for kindness and yet the two seem linked in ways that can be difficult to understand.
What would happen, though, if our headlines focused more on the kindness? Even the little things like "Girl publishes book six months after friend kicks her mental butt" or "Little boy rescues injured bird by making a splint out of popsicle sticks"? Yes, those headlines do exist, but it seems we really have to dig for them.
I don't want to live in a place where we have to dig for kindness. But thinking about it isn't enough. I've got to make my own headlines.