Random Acts of Kindness

 

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With the recent ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, we have seen ingenuity lead to a spike in funds and awareness for a horrendous disease.  Fundraising for the organization is at an all-time high.  I hope, sincerely and with my whole heart, that this influx of funds is well-managed, that it gets into the hands of researchers, and that is yields major steps towards a cure for this heart-breaking syndrome.

All this awareness raising got to me this week.  We donate what we can to our church, and various charities near to us, but this week I got reflective.  I donated to ALS and three charities that were not ALS, and have nothing to do with PTEN.  My donations will not impact the world in an earth-shattering way, yet it felt good.

I’m getting my gold porch light ready for September – Childhood Cancer Awareness month.

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Other people suffer, and all of us – disease specifics not to be debated, could stand to have a cure around

But, regardless of your opinion, I think this ALS Ice Bucket thing did more than raise awareness for ALS.  I think, it increased our awareness of humanity and other people’s struggles.

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A few days ago in Costco I had over estimated my strength.  And as I wondered how I would get the chair into the car, two gentlemen came from nowhere.  Different places I might add, to work together to fit the chair into my car.

Then I received a card in the mail.  It had a check enclosed for us the for a charity of our choice, or something fun.   The handwritten note told me that Meghan and my story was impacting at least one life.  The need to keep sharing was renewed.

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And I connected on Facebook to a man who we met in Disney last year.  He and his wife and Meghan struck up a conversation on a long bus ride.  He had a service dog.  She was enthralled.  She was raising awareness of Cowden’s Syndrome.  He tried several times to send me a link to a song that made him think of Meghan.  He was finally able to get it through.  I cried.  My little girl is making a difference and this man took the time to let us know.

In the mail was a package from a friend, a former student, with a “big sister” type of compassion for my girl.  There was a letter (which wasn’t for me to read,) and a key chain for Meghan, and one for me too.

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None of these people could have known I was having a pretty tough time.  I don’t so well in chaos, and the house was absolutely upended.  In the year that everything broke, the bay window was being replaced, the house needed new… lots of things, and the leak in the pool was becoming evident.

Random acts of kindness.

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That’s why they matter.  So much.

We try to pay it forward as much as we can.  So special to be on the receiving end as well.

Whatever the cause.  Whatever the reason.  An increased awareness of others will make the world a better place.

Do something nice for no reason.  With no expectation of anything in return.  Just because.

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What if every day was a snow day?

Now before you jump through the page – hear me out.

The kid in you may be cheering.  “SNOW!  FUN!  PLAY! ”

And the grown up in you may be growling.  “TIRED OF SHOVELING AND GETTING STUCK AND BEING COLD.”

But actually, neither is exactly what I meant.

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I got a message around noon that my daughter was hurting.  The pain has been bad again.  The weather doesn’t help.  I fought through a wicked virus last week, and there is always the possibility of it eating at her.  Her nerves are shot.  The thyroid consult is Thursday.  Consciously or not – she is worried.  I’d be shocked if she wasn’t.  I am too.

And between the weather, and the stress, there is the pain.  It started a few weeks ago in the shoulder.  It found its way to the ankle.  Physical therapy in between.  Swim practice ends up being haphazard and inconsistent.  My heart breaks.  I am distracted.  Most of the time.

But this afternoon, when we left school together, and there were 8 inches of snow on the ground where it hadn’t been a few hours earlier – no one we were about to meet would have had any real idea of what I wrote in the last 2 paragraphs.

After settling Meghan into the warming car I set about clearing it off.  Its a decent car, but a sedan,not an SUV, and while it can handle 2 or 3 inches, it is NOT designed to drive in 8 inches of anything.  I ended up on my bottom twice as I finally got the windows and roof clear enough to be safe and legal.

Then, I decided to pull out.  Well I went through all the motions anyway.  There was lots of spinning and not much moving.

Then there were people all around my car.  Some I knew, others I don’t think I ever met.  And for a moment getting my car out of the spot was the most important thing on their agenda.  They guided me as I behaved like a ditsy distracted woman.  They had no idea how full my head was, and they passed no judgement.  They were patient.  I got free.

I kept driving, ready to make the first right when a woman waved me away.  Someone was stuck.

I proceeded straight slowly, and when I tried to move slightly to the left to be sure I cleared someone in the road, I quickly ended up on the curb.

Fortunately no cars were in the way.  But I was not moving.

And then… there were people.  New people.  Surrounding my car.  Strategizing.  Thoughts of Thursdays appointment still waffling around in my head, I desperately tried to focus.  They worked at it.  I did as they said.  And in a few moments, I was free again.

I kept to the main roads for as much of the rest of the trip as I could manage.  And I was doing well until I had to stop to let a car pass at the service road.  Stuck again.  This time I had the wherewithal to free the car on my own.  And as I turned down my block, there was a sense of relief.

So I pulled up alongside our other car to quickly shovel out the spot in front of our house.  Then I got in the car to back it up.  Spinning wheels.  Sliding.

Then there was a neighbor.  Then another.  People I have lived near for 13 years, but I am embarrassed to say I formally met for the first time today.

They aren't actually touching - but it's 2 inches at best.

This time the predicament was a bit more dicey.  My new car was literally inches from the old one.  A slide in the wrong direction was going to cost me the front corner panel of one, OR BOTH, of my cars.

Hesitant I called my parents house.  I knew my Dad would make it down and help me make sense of it.  I frantically shoveled until I could see the blacktop of the street, looking over my shoulder and holding my breath as a few cars sporadically made their way down the street.  Our other neighbor, a former bus driver, came over and strategized a bit.  Before I knew it the two of them were moving my Saturn out of the way.  As my stepdad’s familiar smile greeted my from the window of his truck – my neighbors had safely parked both of my cars – without them ever touching!

Relieved.  Grateful.  Exhausted.  I gleefully accepted my Dad’s news that he’d be using the snow blower on the back of our property and I busily got to work on the front.  Street to street property is nice… most of the time.

Guess we should have taken the flower pot in?

Some time close to five – a few minutes before my husband got home, I walked my sore back into the house to greet the face of my wiped out “I’ve totally had it.” kid.

Close to two hours after I had left my job, I had to stop for a minute and reflect.  The chaos of my mind was still swirling about my head.

I chatted with “The Captain” for about 15 minutes in awe of exactly how many angels had crossed my path today.  By my count at least 15 people had in some way “paid it forward” to me and my girl.

And I work less than a mile from my house.

So what if every day was a snow day?  Well we may have lots more chances to find out.  But, more importantly, what if we TREATED each other, EVERY day, as if it was a snow day.  What a wonderful world it would be.

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