I feel – surprisingly- okay.
Surprising maybe because I passed two car accidents and a house fire on my way to work this morning. By the time I pulled into the parking lot at work I was so shaky all over I had to wait a minute before I got out the car. And when I finally got out my legs were still wobbly underneath me.
I accept that it might be like this for awhile while I’m trying to re-settle myself after everything, but I’m trying to practice an extreme attitude of gratitude in order to force my focus on to something that will actually benefit me.
I still believe that there’s a learning experience in everything, but I want to make sure I’m learning something valuable. I feel like I’ve learned that kindness, generosity, concern, and assistance are wasted emotions and activities, but that’s not valuable, so I’m trying to learn something else.
As part of this “experiment” I’m supposed to look for the miracle in things. For example, it is a miracle that I survived the last few months without doing something that would lead to jail time, a straitjacket, or both.
So one thing or thought leads to another, and I realize that it’s not that difficult to come up with at least three occasions in the last 30 days where I’ve crossed paths with kindness in one form or another.
(#1) I started my day cleaning out the extra stuff that accumulated in our resource library while we were stockpiling supplies during the heat wave last month.
We ordered a huge quantity of water and juice as we prepared to be a cooling center. And for reasons no one can figure out, we had the entire delivery arrive at our administration site. It was 10 am and already 102 degrees, and we had to figure out how to get these supplies out to the different sites.
John (his actual name) was in the building for a meeting. And for more reasons that I may never understand, he volunteered to take the supplies for his site. And two other sites. “I have to drive right past them so I might as well drop them off,” he smiled.
John loaded up and delivered 15 cases of water and 6 cases of juice in blistering, dangerous heat to make sure everyone had what they needed. We had more than 300 people come visit us that day to stay cool. The sites were set up with TVs, books, games and volunteers and thanks to John, chilled beverages.
Incredible. He didn’t just save me (from having to head out in do it myself- in a sundress and sandals, at that!) but he saved every visitor we served; some of them the usual clientele and some of them just people passing by on the street looking for a cool respite.
God bless him.
(#2) The weekend before that we got up early to go car shopping.
Cass relocated back this way and needed reliable transportation to get to her new job. So we grabbed an old friend of mine, Tadeo, as our official car tour guide and were on the road before 9 am, expecting to find something quickly and get back indoors before the temperature got too high.
We didn’t make it.
It was nearly noon when we walked out on yet one more lot. Tad and I veered right and Cassie kept straight, right under what felt like a beam of sunlight. (That’s why we veered right.) I heard her yell my name and I turned expecting her to be standing over a nice car. She was leaning on an old van. She said she didn’t feel well and that she felt like she could faint.
In the amount of time it took me to say, “Really?” and start walking towards her I saw her eyes start to roll up and back.
And then in a motion that was somehow slow and fast simultaneously, her upper body fell back. Then she crumpled at the knee and I ran as fast as I could to get there before her head hit the ground. I don’t know what was scarier: the visual of her fainting or what my mom would have done to me if I had let something bad happen to her other kid.
I rocked her in my arms and screamed for someone to help me. Not surprisingly, most people just peeked over at us and kept walking. A woman in a very pretty melon colored dress made it over almost as fast as Tad did.
This lady was small, and elegantly attired but she rushed over faster than any guy out there. Tad took one look and ran off shouting over his shoulder as he ran, “I’m going for water.”
The lady crouched down beside us. “It’s this heat. You have to get her out the heat.” I shook Cassie a little and kept asking her to wake up until she finally did and the lady helped us up. Once we got Cass safely in the car, the woman touched my shoulder and asked if I was okay. Cassie only remembers me being very calm and responsive, but I told her that was in between panicked screams of “OH MY GOD. HELP MEEEEE!!”
I thought it was nice of the woman to notice my own distress (which I only recognized after the fact) and check that both of us were okay.
Never caught her name, but I won’t forget her face. Or her kindness.
And I am grateful for Tad’s athleticism. Seems like he ran across the street to the store and came back with two giant bottles of water in under a minute.
At the time I was disappointed that more people, particularly men, didn’t stop to help. Certainly didn’t do much for a quiet theory I developed last winter that frankly, most men are punks and cowards.
And in general, people just don’t do enough to help each other.
I am happy to be wrong.
(#3) I saw a lot of footage from the Indiana State Fair tragedy.
Perhaps most surprising and miraculous is how many people ran towards the collapsed structure to help. As quickly as it happened, I saw people hopping over seats and running at top speed to assist. Unbelievable, but in the best kind of way.
My heart, thoughts, well wishes and prayers go out to everyone affected.
And there is no amount of appreciation I could ever express for the people who selflessly and heroically rushed in like angels to save anyone they could. God bless and keep those people.
I’m sure if I thought about it, I could really come up with a lot more examples of people showing consideration for other people. It’s a great way to make a bad day go good. And it’s making me think about doing some more volunteer work which was nice.
We change our habits a little bit a time, and we break old habits best by forming new ones. So for every crazy story I read or hear, I’m going to immediately look into finding a wonderful story.
We’re going to take Newton’s (third, right?) law, shake it up a little and apply it to the craziness of life for awhile and see what happens.
If I fail, I lose nothing.
But if I succeed, I win happiness. And happiness is everything.
I am grateful for...75. The kindness of strangers
Jose James “Velvet”
Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young “Ohio”
Is this song supposed to make you want to cry? It sounds like it escaped from Diddy- Dirty Money’s “Last Train to Paris” CD. I mean that in a good way. I really like “Last Train.” And I really like this. Makes me want to watch “Life After People” again.
Kanye West and Jay-Z “No Church in the Wild”