Kindness In An Unexpected Place

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“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eye for an instant? ”  ~ Henry David Thoreau

This blog did not come to me in an instant.  It has instead been simmering for awhile.  It’s been one of those months that just hasn’t gone my way.  So many things have happened that I would not choose if I were in control of life.

1. I injured my elbow badly playing roller derby, and am one month in on a 3 month rehabilitation process.  I live in a brace and I am suddenly aware of the new effort it takes to keep my head in a positive space.  It would be so easy to feel bad for myself!

2. My sister is moving far away with my niece and nephew…another temptation to feel as if the world is against me.

3. My cat…my furry BFF…just passed away last week.  It was a sudden shock that I was not prepared for.  It just blindsided me and I found myself with new heartache to navigate through.

Yep, it’s been a rough one, but there is a story to tell here.  A story of how remarkable teens and pre-teens are.  A story of their creativity, courage & true empathy.  So often teens get labeled…misunderstood.  This is really our loss, because they are full of wisdom and are very deserving of our respect.  Coincidentally, I spoke to a mother recently who was fascinated by new research, which proves that human beings are most creative and able to produce most effectively between the ages of 11 & 14.  So there you go…scientific evidence of the unique abilities of our youth!  This is powerful, but I’ve always found that we learn more deeply through the sharing of stories.

The story goes like this:  All three issues above had been weighing heavily on my mind.  I had been able to stay aware of my thinking and how it was contributing to my interpretation/experience at any given time.  I was able to see that at times my awareness was minimal as I was unable to see past my sadness in certain moments.  This was okay, because I knew that my thinking and my level of consciousness would rise again naturally…”this too shall pass.”

I also was able at times to quiet down and feel some comfort from a wiser part of me…times like this gave me great insight.  We, for example, painted a pot in honor of our cat and planted a daffodil in it.  It will re-bloom each year as a sweet reminder of our departed kitty.  This idea came to me in a moment of clarity and provided great comfort to each of us.  I’ve been thankful for this wisdom along the way.

However, there were moments when I just allowed myself to feel sad…deep in the muck.  On one moment like this I was headed out in the rain to take down the missing cat signs we had put up around our neighborhood.  Not a task I was looking forward to.  I had set the tone for a perfectly awful experience…hood up, eyes down.  I was purposely not making eye contact or any connections with fellow humans or animals along the way.

I came upon my last post and I waited for all traffic to pass.  I wanted to be alone…in total denial of the connection we all share regardless of what story we try to tell ourselves.  I was quite dedicated to feeling bad.

I noticed a couple middle-school aged boys coming by on their skateboards.  They were loud, in the street & stopping traffic.  In my state of mind, I dismissed them completely.  Surely they would just ignore me.  After all I’m standing in the rain ripping a sign down.  I am grouchy, puffy-eyed, and unapproachable.  In addition, this last sign was really stuck on there good, and with only one usable arm, I was really rippin’ away at it.  I wasn’t aware of anyone else.  Then the sweetest thing happened…

When I turned around I saw that they were coming back to me.  Their braces and retainers were glistening awkwardly out of their smiling mouths.  “Aw”, one of them said, “Did you loose your kitty?'”  The other one followed with “Let us see the picture and we’ll look for him for you.”

At this point I was not able to speak.  Their unexpected kindness had left me so moved that I had a knot the size of an orange in my throat.  I made eye contact with each of them purposely and thanked them for their kindness.  I wanted to hug them and tell them that they had done more for me than they would ever know…they had!  They had reminded me that we are all connected.  Kindness comes in many packages and is here for us.

As they walked away, one yelled out ” We really hope you find him!”.  They had empathized with me…a total stranger…100%.  No questions asked.  What kind of courage does it take to approach a stranger on the street and offer understanding and friendship?  I was, and am, in awe of them.  I am motivated by them.  They are the proof that our teens are here to teach us.  We could learn so much & there is so much to gain by allowing them to be in this role.

I hope this blog makes you see your teen or pre-teen with a little more understanding…a little softer lens.  We are often quick to judge, but then we miss out.  I encourage you to experiment with this…allow yourself to observe this truth in them.  Have fun!

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