The Magic of Kindness

You know it’s a stressful week when most of your texts to friends start with, “Girl, I need to be sequestered.” Typically, I’m an understanding person.  When another driver on the road passes me like a lunatic, I say to my passenger, “maybe that person is rushing to the hospital to see a loved one who was hurt tragically, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.”  I’m great at inventing a scenario that makes what initially appears to be outrageous behavior, a little more understandable.  I mean sometimes life is crazy, right?

As we all know, crazy is right up my street, down my boulevard, and in my alley. When you reign over Crazy Town, you become rather accustomed to crazy. I’ve seen so much in my lifetime, it takes a lot to shock me.  I think I’m pretty nonjudgmental, and very accepting of the unique individuality most people display.  I love diversity and I find eclectic people fascinating and worth celebrating. I love to meet people who walk to the beat of their own drum.  We all know how I am about that little, imaginary drum of mine, right?  It is definitely a rarity for me to find someone who I simply cannot connect with on some level.  But, it’s no secret that when our stress level is high and our self-nourishment is low, our ability to be tolerant takes a drastic dive.

Hence the texts to my friends indicative of my need for said sequestration.  Here are a few examples of the texts I’m referring to:

“I need to be in isolation.”

“I’m putting myself in time-out.”

“I need an entire roll of duct tape to keep my mouth shut.”

“Pray that God keeps his foot over my entire mouth.”

“I’m releasing the Queen and I’m not even attempting to subdue her.”

“Do you have bail money?”

“The devil hates me.”

“If I walk in that building people are going to swear that hell let out for recess.”

Typically, my friends respond with an “Oh no, what’s wrong? LOL”  Every once in a while, though, if they’re having a similar week, they hit me back with a, “if you decide to walk in that building, give me 30 minutes notice so I can meet you and go inside and watch.”  I mean what are friends for, right?  Let’s not forget that those same friends were present in my life when the Queen ruled every one of my thoughts, decisions, and behaviors and I never attempted to control her on any level.   While those decades of my life have provided wonderful fodder for my next memoir, the Queen deservedly retired to her chambers a couple of years ago when my healing began.  With that being said, I’m sure my friends would still enjoy a front row seat if the Queen ever decided to have a comeback tour.

We all have those days where it’s almost as if we just hope that someone gives us some lip.  We’re fed up, we’ve had enough, and we are going to let someone, anyone, know how we feel.  We are overwhelmed and any coping skills we have worked hard to develop disappear from our emotional tool box. A few weeks ago, I was driving to one of my daily dental appointments, and was on the phone with a friend who was trying to give me a much-needed pep talk.  Suddenly, I put the windows down and through the blue tooth she could hear all of the wind whipping through the car.   In a very panicked voice I said, “oh no, you’ll never believe what just flew out the window of this car.”  With total dread in her voice she said, “oh no, what?”  My reply?  “My very last f*ck…. I now have absolutely zero left to give.”  She immediately called me several names and said she couldn’t believe she fell for that.  We laughed and laughed and my stress immediately dropped several levels.

That humor I share with my closest friends, which some may call inappropriate, has no doubt played a crucial part in the healing of my broken heart.  My mom always told me that if I couldn’t learn to laugh at my problems, I wouldn’t laugh much in my lifetime.  Through the course of my life I have seen the truth in that statement repeatedly.  Life is hard, and love and laughter are many times the perfect remedy.

When I’m really comfortable with someone, I will laugh without shyness.  If I find something particularly funny, I will go into this laughing spell that has to be seen to be understood.  Every time it happens Alec says, “oh no, here she goes.”  No one else will even be laughing anymore, but I am in my own little world, tears streaming down my face, laughing hysterically.  The more bewildered people look, the harder I laugh. It literally will go on for several minutes.   Eventually they just start laughing with me as they enjoy this rare display of my finding pure delight in what to them, remains an enigma.

I haven’t laughed that way in years.  You can’t make that kind of laughter just happen.  Life can be incredibly painful and problems can be so serious that sometimes there is simply no way to find anything to laugh about.   As hard as we search for joy it can be quite elusive and that is when we have to fight our hardest to discover it once more.  I have found it in so many new places where I never knew it resided.  Mostly, I’ve discovered that joy is where you find it. I feel the same way about the goodness in people.

It’s no secret our world is full of atrocities and new heart-breaking stories hit the media every single day.   I rarely watch the news anymore because I just don’t want to be inundated with the negativity.  I’m not trying to bury my head in the sand and become oblivious to what is going on in the world around me, but I also have the choice to control what I focus on and what I allow to permeate my existence.  I’ve discovered that when I actively search for the good in people, I find it everywhere.

Recently I was at the grocery and an elderly lady with a cane was standing at the cross walk watching the heavy traffic keep driving by her.  I watched her for a few seconds and realized quickly she seemed intimidated to start her walk across the white lines.   I approached her and asked if she’d like me to walk across with her.  As I finished and turned around to walk into the store, another lady was right behind me getting ready to ask the same thing.  I felt so thankful for that second lady who also saw a frightened stranger and wanted to help.  She could have easily ignored her plight and rushed on into the store, but she didn’t.  She followed behind me in case there was additional assistance needed.

As I commandeered my cart and walked into the store I smiled and thanked God for the genuine kindness I had witnessed.  It was a small, tiny moment, but it mattered to me.  I look for those small Godwinks everywhere I go.  They keep my emotional gas tank full so I don’t need to be sequestered very often.  If we focus on the negative it seems to multiply quickly and snatch away all of the beautiful moments and amazing people who are right in front of us–don’t be blind to the joy that is released by kindness.

Kindness matters.  It softens the hardened faces of the angry and it opens doors and topples walls that have been unscalable for years. It is one of the few things in the world that is absolutely free to give away, yet priceless at the same time.  Kindness truly is magical.  While we may not be equipped with magic wands, we can still be magicians of the heart and sprinkle kindness everywhere.  Sit back and watch the miracles begin to happen, the negativity disappear, and whisper to yourself, “Hocus Pocus.”