Our son is blessed with loving aunts and uncles who dote on him endlessly, and when he asked his beloved Godfather about his aunts and uncles and cousins, none of us minced any words. Because his Godfather is a holocaust survivor, he has very few living relatives and he replied in this way:
“They died in the war started by a man named Adolf Hitler. He was a person who was so filled with hate and the quest for power that he ordered the death of millions of Jews. My family were amongst those who were killed.”.
“Fuck that guy!” our nine-year-old aptly commented.
Indeed, but we reassured him that most the world came together to defeat Hitler and that this would never happen again.
I firmly believe that just as hate begets hate, love begets love. And of the two, love is the more powerful force.
In the interest of spreading love, here are a few ideas to bring light into the world this week. A week that demands action over inaction and kindness over malevolence.
- Bring food to the food bank. There will be a rush of donations come Thanksgiving and Christmas, but the shelves tend to empty over the summer months. Anything non-perishable is appreciated.
- Donate blood if you are able. Blood units tend to drop over the summer months. As a donor, you get cookies and juice and the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping to save a life. (On that note, why can’t we be notified when our donation is being used to help someone? I’ve seen their tracking procedures – each and every unit of blood is marked and labeled and checked and double-checked and recorded arduously. Would it be that difficult for Canadian Blood Services to send a text or email when our donation is being infused? That would be a great notification to get and may inspire new people to donate).
- Buy some flowers for a friend, or for someone in need. A little potted plant (usually under ten dollars at the grocery store) delivered to a local nursing home can really uplift someone. I leave it with the receptionist with the instructions to pass it along to someone who is sad or lonely.
- My dad is in his eighties, and my mom just turned (redacted). For her birthday, we gave them a food delivery service for two weeks (my friend, Jenn Tobin, had the idea). They are THRILLED with it. We ordered from Chef’s Plate. They usually have 50% discount for first-time customers. My parents are very particular, and they are awestruck by the freshness and tastiness of the meals. They even tried soba noodles for the first time! Best idea ever, Jenn. (Chef’s Plate requires the assembly of the ingredients. If someone you love could use a little more help, you can order pre-cooked, pre-packaged meals from Home Style Meals — it’s a far fresher and tastier alternative to Meals on Wheels). (NOTE: I am not being paid or compensated in any way to suggest these companies.)*
- Forgive a small slight. My parents moved into an apartment a few years ago and were introduced to one of their neighbours. She was unwelcoming and nasty to them right from the start. Some people are just like that, I suppose, but mom and dad have stayed far away from her since their first encounter. Until today. This morning, when the three of them entered the elevator at the same time, a very cool “hello” emerged from my mother’s pursed lips, followed up with a “and how have you been?” (not that she particularly cared, but old polite habits die hard). “Not well” the woman replied. “my husband died”. Cue the melting scene from Frozen. Hearing of a spouse’s death is like kryptonite to my parents. Sincere condolences were expressed, and later that day my dad brought her a plant with a note containing their home and cell phone numbers, giving her explicit instructions to call them day or night if she needs anything. They had a long conversation in the hallway, and a new friendship might just emerge from this.
“Love begets love. It multiplies the kindness and goodness of every heart” – Jean Ayende Totanes
*my editor, Lee, insisted that I add this disclaimer. I find it hilarious how he thinks that so many people read this blog that I have to worry about legalities.