Friday, September 21, 2012

Extraordinary Kindness

We celebrated our 15th! can you believe it 15th wedding anniversary. A lot can happen in that time--like 4 kids!
We celebrated big with a little trip to Cedar City for the Utah Shakespeare Festival and a performance of Les Miserables. It was outstanding. Fabulous. Oh the music! and the story!  A tale of forgiveness and redemption that I will not soon forget. The timing could not have been better.

After losing my mom and family so to speak in the aftermath,  I felt myself becoming increasingly un-forgiving and more hardened.  I walked around with a proverbial t-shirt that said something like,
"I've been through hell. Don't mess with me."
I kept to myself more, smiled less.

I was becoming indifferent.

 It was at this time that I was browsing with my kids in the neighborhood  "Bookmobile" (we have those:)  and I came across the book  Escape from Rwanda. Sounded like just the light read I needed... I checked it out and read and read.    The book is the true story of a boy who writes about his escape and his subsequent life as a refugee, and the obvious horrors that he witnessed and experienced during Rwanda's civil war. With each page my life problems were successively put into perspective.  And it didn't take many pages before my life seemed pretty easy, my struggles petty,  and the people in my life, pretty good.  They weren't murdering my family members as I watched, for example.   What really struck me, though,  were the examples of extraordinary kindness in this boy's life. Individuals who, amid these cruel world experiences, and throughout various times in his life,  lifted him up,  paid his ticket, carried his load, or took him in.  He went from a destitute orphan to an American citizen and college graduate.  Their kindness made all the difference.

I have since felt a change of heart.  I want to be extraordinarily kind--the kind of person who lifts others up, the kind of person who cares.

And then to see Les Miserables!   The priest showed a supreme example of kindness to a criminal, Jean Val Jean, whose heart was forever changed by the kindness he received.
I jotted down two lines from the ending scenes of the performance that hit me like a ton of bricks--for lack of a more original phrase.

" Love is everlasting"
"When you love someone you see the face of God"

I've  resolved to be kinder to those that are close to me and to everyone. I haven't done anything extraordinary by any means--just more aware of my presence, my words, and how they affect others. I smile more and guess what? I'm happier!!  And. Hopefully I can be in the right place at the right time and with the right frame of mind to go above and beyond like the examples above. Maybe those individuals didn't think they were doing anything extraordinary at the time, maybe ordinary kindness can be extraordinary.

Either way, I am walking around with a new message on my proverbial t-shirt:
EXTRAORDINARY KINDNESS. Pass it on.


4 comments:

Diana said...

You ARE an uplifter. That's why I like ya. :)

cold cocoa said...

I can't imagine you "hardened". I am glad you found the inspiration you needed to get back to your true self.

stephanie said...

I am having a hard time imagining you hardened. However, that was a beautiful post.

I wish we still hada bookmobile! I loved those days

Megan said...

Eloquent and true. I'm so glad you wrote this, because I needed to read it.