Monday, March 23, 2015

Random Acts

Kindness is often overlooked, but can truly change one's survival. At moments when we most need help, small thoughtful acts of kindness can make all the difference. Even the smallest, most random of acts can ease another person's struggle in very powerful ways.

Last night, during a conversation with a friend, I mentioned how I found a tweaked photograph of him oddly therapeutic and relaxing. I laughed with him about how all I needed now was the sound of packing tape to be completely Zen.

Obscure I know, but let me explain. 
For years, I lived at a storage facility where I worked and this friend had a storage unit which happened to share a wall with my bedroom. For his business, he did a lot of packing and shipping, usually at odd hours, often in the middle of the night. I would hear the distinctive sound of boxes being taped through the wall and know he was over there. Sometimes, I called him from bed while he worked, because we were both up and night owls. Other times, I would stroll over there in my pajamas, sneak up on him while he was in the "zone" and give him a scare. Then we would hang out talking while he packed and sorted. More often then not though, numerous times a month, I would just fall asleep listening to the sound of that tape. So, even though the applying, ripping, tearing sound of tape can be abrasive for some, it has a soothing affect on me. 

So, I joked with him about how during recent pain, stress, and insomnia, I missed the tape sound. Within a couple of minutes of getting off the phone with him, I got an email entitled "Calm", with just a sound file of packing tape being applied, ripped, and torn. It made me laugh, and I admit, I have listened to it a few times, because it does oddly relax me.

Over the course of surviving stress and anxiety can be overwhelming, so things that are soothing or helpful can be a life-raft to get you through very tough times. And random acts of kindness literally and figuratively can make quite a difference.

Sending me that tiny sound file made me think back on many of the surprising, random acts of kindness I received during my recovery and fight for survival. Both big and small. A lot of them may seem like little acts in the grand scheme of things, but the kindness and support I received from people made a huge difference in my life, my spirit, and the survival of my struggles.

Kindness is important. Thoughtfulness is beautiful. We should all acknowledge and give thanks to these moments of humanity. We should strive to give more of ourselves to others, because our actions make a difference.

I had many people do wonderful things to help me survive. I want to take a moment to mention just a few of them.
(I debated using their names, since kindness sometimes wishes to remain anonymous, so I chose to mostly use initials.)

My friends:

"MJ" sent me the first flowers after my brain surgery and she arranged them beautifully herself. She also paid my rent when I couldn't.

"LD" and "KD" brought me bags of groceries, stocking my freezer.

"OC" took me on a $300 shopping spree for supplies and food, literally saving me from starvation and making sure I had toilet paper.

"JE" bought me a Kuerig machine, which allowed me to make coffee and tea without a lot of effort when I could barely move.

"LW" drove me for coffee and groceries, walked Irish, and took us all to the dog park when I was trapped at home with a useless car.

"DL" sent the sound of tape. 
He also: 
Brought me my favorite pizza when I got home from the hospital.
Said the surgical staples in my head made me look "bad ass", like the Terminator, which made me feel better about them.
Called me every day for months, just to check on me, make me laugh, and help me think of other things when I was fixating on the dark stuff and the pain.
Loaded my moving van by himself, when I couldn't lift anything.
And, on my first single-coverage day back at work after brain surgery, he literally took the day off of his work, drove over an hour to sit there my whole ten hour day, unpaid, just to make sure I made it through safely.

And my family:

Mother and sisters, who held my hand, cooked my food, did my laundry, paid for stuff, brightened my darkness, and held down the fort.

Brother-in-law and boyfriend-in-law, who kept the homefires burning so the fort holding could happen.

My nephew, who watched cartoons with me and drew me pictures of cats, Darth Vader, Cheetoes, and shamrocks.

Tripp who sent me hours of movies and t.v. shows to watch while trapped at home. (He still does.)

Jonathan who spent every day and every night with me, half a world away. Gave me the gift of time. Kept me alive and made me whole.

There were many more small acts of kindness and thoughtfulness along the way, from friends and strangers. Too many to mention them all. But, I am thankful for every single one.

We all need moments of kindness. We all need more of them.
Take the time to be kind, to be thoughtful, and to give thanks.

Random acts of kindness are not random to the person who receives them. They are the very specific moments which help us survive.

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