Under normal circumstances, I find writing to be cathartic. I enjoy, it helps to clear my head, brings me peace. Lately, I’ve found myself with an unusual abundance of time, and a great deal to say. However, in the madness, my musings seem unimportant, my opinions inconsequential. It seems that anything written now should be passionate and important and informed, not something written from a couch, by one of the millions, a little lost and stir crazy. I’m going to write anyway.
Like many, this has been an unnerving experience for me. Our routine is off, nothing is definite, nothing is certain. This is fertile ground for negative, anxious thoughts, the perfect conditions for sliding back down into a spiral. This type of event shakes your faith, regardless of what that faith is in. I’ve stayed above it so far, mostly, soaking in the art made available, the kindness and love and unity that I’m seeing. There is so much good coming from this.
I’ve long been a proponent of paying it forward, changing the world with kindness, I’ve done what I can to pass this onto my children. Earlier this week, my oldest son and I went to the grocery store. There was a young man outside, as there usually is, with a cardboard sign, selling little flower arrangements for any donations. These are hard times for many. My clinic has closed, my hours have been reduced, everything is uncertain. We bought flowers, a few dollars for a small jar filled with spring blooms. My son asked me why. Now, when everything is unknown, why would I spend money on wildflowers in a mason jar.
It was an act of hope, of defiance, of faith. I can give because I know it will come back around, I can hope, because I see the work others are doing. We can live in safety and not live in fear. It’s a lot from a few flowers. I don’t share this to bring attention to myself or my actions, though I do believe in sharing whatever acts of kindness you do. You can’t spread kindness if you don’t talk about it, good deeds often die in the dark, unknown and untold from fear of judgment. In this case, I tell you because of what happened next.
I told my son that it would come back around. At the checkout there was a problem with my card, we ran it through several times, it wouldn’t work. I scraped together the little bit of cash I had on hand and started the humiliating process of putting items back, deciding what was essential and what wasn’t; not an easy task as we use public transportation and like everyone else, are trying not to go out. As we took items out of bags, a stranger came back and offered to pay the difference, insisted on doing so. Not only paying the difference but insisting also that we keep the change.
I wanted to argue, explain that we didn’t need help, there were those who needed it more, excuse and explain my inability to pay in that moment. However, my son reminded me that it comes back around. He was dumbfounded, to see kindness return like that, so quickly, to see firsthand the compassion people can have for each other, particularly in these trying and unprecedented circumstances. We thanked her profusely, donated the change she insisted we keep to an older man on the street.
Little things like this happen a lot, this isn’t an uncommon story, and typically wouldn’t be something I would write about or share. These are strange times. This was faith and hope in action, a reminder that it will be ok again. It will not go back to normal, it can’t, I don’t think it should, but it will be ok. It will get better. There are more helpers than naysayers, more people giving and creating and sharing than
hoarding and yelling. There is a unity among most that I’ve never seen before. I’ve always believed that kindness can change the world, it might just be how we save it.
April – Seattle, WA
Hey SLAYER! I’ve started a new series of posts called SLAY IT FORWARD. Each post is a submission from you of an act of kindness you have received or have witnessed that has inspired you. Let’s remind each other what’s important during this time and spread kindness… SLAY IT FORWARD.
To submit your own SLAY IT FORWARD story email me at firstname.lastname@example.org