Kindness Comes in Many Forms

Picture this: I’m in my car, sitting at a red light in the left turn lane. The advance green arrow appears and INSTANTLY the guy behind me lays on his horn.

(Note that I’m a ridiculously nervous driver – hands at the “ten and two” position, head up and at attention like a German soldier.)

So here we have it, folks, another angry pork chop guy. A guy so unhappy in his life that he feels the need to lash out and exert power in even the most benign circumstance.

As much as every cell in my body wanted to give him the finger and drive suuuuper sloooooowly, that would just escalate the situation. Instead, I made my turn, moved into the right lane, and as he passed I smiled and waved at him like I would an old friend. His angry expression became confused. “Do I know her? Why is she waving at me? Who did I just honk at?”.

Hopefully, my Random Act of Ridiculousness gave him enough pause that he continued his drive peacefully. I’ll always take perplexed over angry.

Now it’s time to concentrate on the kindness I’ve witnessed lately.

I have an entire blog post devoted to the friends and neighbours who have helped me through my adventures in disc herniation. The warmth and concern that surround me stop me in my tracks and I’m eternally grateful. More on this later.

The second act I witnessed came from my dad. He’s 83 and still working as an insurance broker. One of his clients went on a sabbatical overseas but forgot to pay her insurance premium before she left. When he received a note from the insurance company indicating that her house insurance was going to be cancelled, he took out his VISA, called them and paid her premium for her. $800 that he won’t see for a bit, but he truly doesn’t care: “she’s been a loyal client for some time” he said.

Take that, Geico Lizard.

The final act of kindness came about in 2006 – the year that Lee worked in Vancouver. He lived in the Vancouver Marriott hotel and was treated to both a delicious breakfast every morning and the sight of Jessica Alba working out in the hotel gym.

Although he wished he did
Picture not taken by Lee

Lee got into great shape that year.

Anyway, the hotel chef prepared a homemade granola that was stop-in-your-tracks delicious. Other than stalking watching a Hollywood star stretch and sweat every morning, it was the best part of his day. When Lee complimented the chef, he asked Lee if he’d like the recipe and wrote it out by hand. That stained, worn, well-loved piece of paper is in our recipe book and every time Lee sees it, he is reminded of Jessica Alba’s abs the chef’s kindness in sharing it with us.

Here is the recipe. Guaranteed it is the BEST granola you’ve ever had.

4 cups oats
1.5 cups rice krispies
1.5 cups brown sugar
250 g butter
50 g honey
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup almonds

In a pot mix together the brown sugar, melted butter and honey over low heat until sugar has dissolved. Fold mixture into the dry ingredients.

Mix well until the oats are well coated then pour onto baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Stir granola once during cooking process to ensure even cooking.

Let cool, keep stirring until fully cooked (if you prefer chunks, let cool without stirring and break pieces into container for storage)

Options; add dry cranberries or sun-dried cherries or raisins.

Three different forms of kindness: a passive, non-agressive act when confronted by misplaced rage, a huge favour for a loyal client, and a seemingly small act that is appreciated 11 years later.

Kindism will return August 4, 2017.

 

 

Quick Hits of Kindness – Say It Now

I am always trying to think up the next “million dollar idea”.

For instance, I want my car to come equipped with different horns for different situations (someone has done it, I see, but I swear I had that idea ten years ago), a diaper genie for kitchen food waste, and a website where you can download forms to help you tell people how you feel about them while they are still alive. The last one was going to be called SayItNow.com but when I pitched it to those closest to me, I got some lukewarm feedback. And some crinkled brows. Plus, my mother said “that is horribly depressing”. Figures that the one thing I could do without the aid of an engineer got a big thumbs down.

However, this is what sparked the idea: I work part time in a beautiful funeral home. It has the feel of a fine hotel – wide staircases, an enormous, glittering chandelier, and furniture clad in the softest fabrics. The building is kept immaculately clean, soft music dances gently through the speakers and it always smells like vanilla shortbread cookies. Lots of people say they couldn’t do my job, but my office is quiet and civilized and filled with a supportive staff who treat each other like family.

Anyway.

It also has a state-of-the-art sound system, and, quite often, I can listen to the eulogies given during funerals over the speakers scattered about the funeral home. While every funeral and every family is different, there are a few similarities:

Tears

Flowers. So many flowers.

Eulogies from loved ones reminiscing about the good times and speaking well of the deceased.

It leaves me wondering if anyone said such wonderful things to them while they were alive.

I try very hard to remember the fleeting nature of life and if I were rich, I’d like to rent a plane to sky write: DON’T WAIT – TELL THOSE YOU LOVE HOW YOU FEEL RIGHT NOW. Grief is painful and leaving things unsaid and undone intensifies this pain. Now, there have been volumes written on grief but the most meaningful words I’ve read were written by Jamie Anderson:

“Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give but cannot. All of that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go”.

If grief is painful, guilt magnifies this pain. The guilt sneaks up on you and weighs you down with thoughts of “if only…”. So I think everyone should take the time now, while your loved ones are still alive to express how you feel about them.

A genuinely kind note written from the heart is never a bad idea and is always welcome. For instance, I work with a man who is very quiet. Pleasant always, but not overly emotional.  Yet, every single Christmas he gives out Christmas cards with the most beautiful sentiments handwritten on the inside. I keep every single Christmas card I’ve ever received but I keep his in my desk to read throughout the year. They always make me smile. 

So write the letters, send the notes saying “thinking of you”, email the friends who mean the most to you. Buy the cheesy cards, send flowers, tell your family you know they did their best. Say thank you with a card. Make someone you love laugh. Take a shitload of pictures. Host a crappy dinner party. Get over the awkwardness of self-expression. Just get over it.

Or, if you can’t, order a card from these people. They are hilariously vulgar.

Who would you like to hear from? To whom do you owe a thank you? How do you want to be remembered?  Celebrate the people you love and those who love you.  Say it now.

Not a quick hit of kindness, but interesting anyway

Another guest post by Lee.  Angie is the one with the talent for writing interesting things that make you think and get you to action.  I find interesting things on the intertubes and post them.  Like this:

The writing is a bit small so let me transcribe it for you, just one of the many services I provide other than posting pictures!

None of us are getting out of here alive, so please stop treating yourself like an afterthought. Eat the delicious food. Walk in the sunshine. Jump in the ocean. Say the truth that you’re carrying in your heart like hidden treasure. Be silly. Be kind. Be weird. There’s no time for anything else. — Reddit user “Hotsauceinmyeye”‘s mom

I have the be silly and be weird down. Angie has the be kind locked up.

Normally when one of my friends has a birthday I send them a quick note saying “Happy birthday” and include some form of insult, possibly on the FacePage thing.  I’m not sure why I have friends plural and not just maybe one sick and twisted person who puts up with me because they think I’m funny.  Today I did something a bit different and sent a personal email with “the truth that you’re carrying in your heart” and it felt really good to express myself with none of the macho-manly don’t say what you feel and definitely not to a guy garbage. No time like the present and no sense holding onto the treasure until you can use it in an eulogy.

So the challenge to you is to take one of the suggestions above, and don’t just pick the easy one about eating delicious food, and do it over this weekend.  I’ve done the one and will do all of the rest except jump in the ocean, but I will jump in my pool.