Okey doke here we are…day four thing four. Just joining us and wonder what the heck you are reading? A quick refresh – we are on day four thing four of those things I would tell my mom if she were still “here.” Please see days one through three to get caught up on things one through three if needed. No judgement. I swear.
#4 You taught me that it doesn’t cost anything to have a kind heart. Mom, I don’t think I realized this until the day of your funeral – sad, but true. I didn’t realize how many people who you helped while you were here. And I don’t mean help in the monetary sense as we have clarified that you didn’t have extra money to give. What I realized is that you were giving people your time, your service, your smile, your heart. I distinctly recall a very tall, larger man with dark hair who stopped me on the way out of the church. Or maybe it was before the service started – I don’t remember. What I do remember is what he said with tears in his eyes, “We are going to miss your mom so much around here. She did so many things for so many people in this church.” He continued, “She talked to people and counseled people, she really liked helping the younger kids.” I had no idea. I feel like there was this side of you that I didn’t get to know or get to see. Perhaps because I was too busy living my life or being consumed by my worries or focused on what I was doing. See the theme there? Me.Me.Me. I had no idea what you were doing. You did the same for us, of course, but I think I expected it or took it for granted because you were one of my parents. And that’s what parents do. I didn’t realize that behind the scenes you were helping others whenever you were asked to do so. Maybe you gave someone a free haircut who couldn’t afford it. Maybe you gave someone a ride to church. Maybe you cooked someone dinner (well no, we both know cooking wasn’t one of your strengths haha). But I wonder about all those little things now. All those things you did while no one was looking. I think it goes back to that whole “expectations of your parents” thing I mentioned on day one. Remember – those unrelenting expectations that kids have of their parents? All I saw was what I chose to see. And what I saw was blinded by those expectations. Perhaps I didn’t have the perspective then that I do now. I know I didn’t have the perspective then that I do now. You were kind to people because you had a good heart. You were kind to people because you had a giving heart. And that didn’t cost you anything.
We all put on our best show when we have an audience. But, what do we do when no one is looking? What kind of show do we put on then? Do we show patience with the person who just cut us off in traffic because maybe just maybe they have had a crap day? Or do we let our anger get the best of us and yell at the idiot who clearly doesn’t know how to drive and shouldn’t have a license. Do we have compassion for the elderly lady in front of us in line at the grocery store as she is fumbling to get money out of her wallet because her fingers aren’t as quick as they used to be? Or do we get agitated because we got in the “wrong” line and doesn’t everyone know we are in a hurry? Hey, I am not going sit and here and say that I am always good at this. I try to be, but certainly, I fall short. But what I can say is that my awareness has improved. I am more aware of my emotions and reactions. And I feel better when I am kind and have kind thoughts. So I encourage you, the next time someone cuts you off in traffic or you get in the “wrong” line at the store – take a moment, take a breath, and show compassion, show kindness. That moment is presenting you with a gift, an opportunity and it’s up to you to decide what to do with it. You can choose to be an ass or you can choose to be kind. It doesn’t cost us a thing to have a heart and show kindness. In fact, I would argue just the opposite, it pays us back ten-fold. Just my opinion. For what it’s worth.