Immediately after I published my pity party post yesterday I decided I needed a breath of fresh air. I put on my shoes and coat and wandered down to our mailbox, hoping to clear my head and draw some kind of strength from nature, enough to make it through the rest of the day at least.
Boy did I get more than I bargained for..
When I looked in our mailbox, I saw a package. It was from a friend who had read my post last week about our trauma with Ella's holey shoe at the doctor's office and decided to bless me with a pair of nearly-new shoes her daughter had outgrown. She happened to have extra room in the box, so included an adorable outfit as well. I was already smiling as I unfolded these items, and then I opened the Christmas card she had sent along with it. There was a generous gift of money included that she wrote was from a Facebook friend of hers who had read the blog and admired the honesty of it.
Wow. Humbled. After a week of worrying about paying for truck repairs, Christmas presents, and other such things, and then complaining about my "hard" life on my blog and Facebook.. I felt awful. I felt so guilty for not appreciating what I have and for being so selfish to think solely of myself, instead of looking outward like this stranger (I think) did.
That random act of kindness carried me through the rest of the night, and honestly my day went much better. Charlie woke up from his nap in a good mood and we enjoyed a lively game of Chutes and Ladders, we giggled at bedtime, and even though I ended up getting the stomach bug my children so graciously shared with me last night, I still felt uplifted and like I could handle this.
If Ella's life has taught me one lesson (it has taught me A LOT, but bear with me..) it would be that people are generous. People are good. People like to help others. When Ella was sick last year we overwhelmingly experienced the good of people and I vowed to "Pass it on" the best I could. I think I've done an ok job.. there have been times I've reached out to others and tried to bless them, but I know there's also been times I've had great ideas, but for some reason or another didn't follow through with them. I heard a quote somewhere something like, "The smallest act of kindness is better than the greatest of intentions." Guilty.
I often talk myself out of something kind I could do because "Well.. I'm not sure if they really like that," or "Maybe they already have something like that," or "I don't really know them that well," or "Can we even afford that?" I really do think about doing so many things, but I am ashamed to admit that not enough make it to fabrication.
And now there's the tragedy in Connecticut.
Reminding us that although there is so much good in the world, there is also so much evil. My heart and prayers go out to all the families affected by this senseless act. As I hug my children a little tighter tonight I will remember those mothers whose arms are empty. As I prepare supper that is likely to be rejected by at least one family member, I will think of those families who cannot be together tonight. As I wrangle little bodies to keep from fighting, and try to maneuver them into bed I will feel thankful that they are here.
So where can we go from here? What kind of difference can we make in this too-often cruel world? I will tell you first hand that even the smallest act of kindness really can uplift you. The most humblest of gifts, even if they're not your "favorite" can carry you through the hardest of times. The smallest acts really are better than the greatest intentions. What can we do today in our lives to make the world a better place?