Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Just be Nice

Anthony Burrell Poster

"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." -Henry David Thoreau.

This quote from Thoreau keeps popping into my mind. The scale of desperation varies: whether we're desperate for love, money, attention, physical health, sanity, sleep (the list goes on)...I'm sure we all feel some sort of desperation on a daily basis.

Some of my desperation is of a more un-serious nature. The other day, we were in desperate need of milk. I drug my two tired and hungry children out in the pouring rain to the store. As I loaded them in the shopping cart, crying and whining ensued. And in Charlotte's case, the crying quickly turned into full-blown screaming. A kind elderly man stopped me and tried to comfort my child. I desperately wanted to keep moving, get the milk and get the {you know what} out of there. He asked me if I was going to be there for a while. I felt uncomfortable with the situation so I replied that I was in a hurry. I watched as he stashed his grocery basket on a shelf and walked out into the pouring rain. He soon returned with two stuffed animals: one for each of my children. My heart softened. Who was this man who would go so far out of his way to offer kindness to a stranger and her children? I felt ashamed that I had been suspicious of his intentions. I felt sad that I had wanted desperately to get away from him. The man, whose children are long since grown, told me that he had twin sons. He loved them more than anything and missed having them around. So now he tries to make a few kids happy each day so he doesn't feel so lonely.

What a humbling lesson. This kind man turned his desperation in loneliness into kindness and service for others. I appreciate how his actions helped me in a desperate moment of my own. Although the desperation I felt at the grocery store was a more fleeting variety, he taught me how far one simple act of kindness can go.

  • I also want to thank the kind person who pulled in my recycling bin this morning shortly after the garbage truck left. Your kindness did not go unnoticed, or unappreciated. 

  • And one final thank you. To you, dear blog friends. Thank you for your kind words. For your constant encouragement. For the time you take out of your busy lives to visit me here. I hope someday I can return the kindness you show me everyday. I appreciate you. I love you. 

And a quick quote from one of my favorite authors:
You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Debbie said...

What a story. I often wonder how many people I've offended each day when they were just trying to be kind but I was too busy or self-absorbed to notice.

Wahzat Gayle said...

wow amazing!
what a touching experience.
And to think you shared in helping this generous man add a little sparkle to his life

oh ((hugs))

km said...

Okay, that story goes down in history as one of the sweetest things ever. What a honor and blessing to be part of the same world as that guy!!!

PS~Erin said...

Love your post. And the quotes.

Have a good afternoon!


Erin W. said...

I love the old man/stuffed animal. What a nice man!!!! Sadly though, I would then be skeptical about the stuffed animals? Jeez! What kind of person does that make me?

Mary Jo from TrustYourStyle said...

Honestly, this made me just want to weep it is so sweet! It's so true. Thank you for this lovely post Christina!
xoxo Mary Jo