Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Human Spirit and Giving Thanks

© 2012 hula~la
  • "How beautiful a day can be when kindness touches it." (George Elliston)
This day is truly beautiful as a result of a random act of kindness that I have witnessed first hand.   Generosity comes in many forms.  It can be as simple as holding the door open for someone, or raking the leaves for someone who is not able; a kind word said to another can make a difference in their world.  It is also quite nice to bake and deliver cookies to a neighbor...just because!!!  Or shovel the dreaded snow that is sure to be falling very soon here in the northeast.  This is a good the bridge toll for the car behind you, and just drive away.  Now I'd like to think the person who you just paid for, who has their cash in hand ready to pay, upon finding out his toll was paid, will now use his cash to pay for the car behind it backward in this case. 

What I witnessed today was a gesture so sincere that it truly took my breath away.  For someone to reach out and help another financially who they have never met before, most assuredly will restore anyone's faith in mankind.  The recipient of this generosity is a person who is always so caring and giving, yet is also someone who would never ask for help...of any kind.  Selfless caring and kindness is embedded in every human spirit, yet it must be nurtured through everyday living.  
  • "You will discover that you have two hands.  One is for helping yourself and the other is for helping others." (Audrey Hepburn)
There are those in this world who feel compelled to take advantage of others.  That is how they live. For they somehow feel entitled to be something they are not, or have something they can not.  They are lacking in their soul the common decency that drives humanity.  Or the will to give of themselves freely, for how can they possibly take at the same time as they are giving?  Perhaps they have never been on the receiving end of a kind word or gesture.  Maybe they have never experienced the feeling of love or true goodness from the heart.  The determination to give of ones self comes from a place deep inside the human soul and is initiated by the brain with a simple thought of just being kind.
  • "Things of the spirit differ from things material in that the more you give the more you have."  (Christopher Morley)

For those of us who have a heart and who have the will to make this world a better place, it is very easy to perform a simple random act of kindness towards another human being.  Make eye contact with everyone you meet and smile.  A great BIG genuine smile:)  It's that simple.  That single gesture can be the spark that lights the unconditional desire to show kindness of the human spirit towards another.  It's what truly makes us whole as individuals.  JUST DO IT!  The feeling you will have as a result will be your worthy reward.  And always, always give thanks!

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Higgins, BEST DOG EVER, with local turtle
Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. ~Roger Cara
Higgins 1999 - 2012

A whirlwind of days has just flown by me like the wind that brought that terrible storm to the northeast bringing the beautiful month of October to a close.  The Nor'easter that was so dreaded, seemed to slip right through here, thankfully without any new damage.  The first snowfall, though bitter cold the air, has already faded away.  Thankfully, so that we all may catch up a bit from the personal traumas and dramas that have touched on our lives recently.  
  • He knows not his own strength that hath not met adversity. (Ben Johnson)
It's been said that bad things happen in threes.  Well, we have met our quota for now, I hope.  For the first of our recent bad times was when our beloved dog, Higgins died.  Now, this dog was truly the BEST DOG EVER.  He was a loyal companion to our children.  

The first day they ever had to ride the school bus, this dog, barking all the while they were getting on this big yellow vehicle, proceeded to just sit down directly in front of that school bus so it could not carry his beloved charges off.  Oh, the bus driver beeped her horn, and he just sat...and barked.  His BFF had to get off the bus to walk him away and back to the yard, barking all the while. 

Now I would've brought him back myself, but oh no, Mom was not allowed to stand at the end of this very long driveway and wait with the kids for the bus.  That's what Higgins was doing, and NO MOMS ALLOWED!  Since that day, he actually got on the bus with the children, and was rewarded with a treat for not blocking the driver's progress.  He made his way down the aisle with his kids until they sat, and made his way back greeting all the new friends he would make over the years...getting yet another treat as he disembarked.  

This morning ritual was then repeated, as he waited patiently for the afternoon hour when he could get back on that bus to greet his friends, for more dog treats and then walk them home safely, yet playfully with his tennis ball or squeaky hamburger that he would drop at the end of the driveway and retrieve on the rebound, for he was happy his playmates were back.  If he was inside for that afternoon hour, boy would he let me know with whining and pacing that it was time for the bus!!!  

Yes, he was the BEST DOG EVER!  And he is sorely missed!  That he died on our 25th wedding anniversary, with his kids by his side on his own terms, as he waited until the youngest daughter got home to sit by his side, was a true testament to his brilliance.  For it was the first time that we, as a family were all together at home for a change.  And we were together for him, as he was always there for all of us, whenever we needed him, without judgments of any sort.  True, loyal companionship.
  • Grief is the price we pay for love. (Elizabeth II)
Part two of our three part trauma/drama is when a very dear friend's mother passed away.  Now this woman wore her faith on her sleeve and she was very proud that it would be the legacy that her family, friends and community would attribute to her.  At the wake, her daughter in law, while grieving smiled a great big smile and told me how thankful she was that Gloria's (Grandma, Mom) gift to her children was her faith.  For that is exactly what this family was drawing on to get them through this painful time together.  It brought them comfort.  Her church honored her for her dedication to the faith community that we were all a part of.  And that brought comfort to my family, too.

Now the third and final installment of our "bad x 3" events, took place just after Gloria's wake.  I had to make an appearance at a work function, so of course my cell phone was turned off.  Since I dropped my watch, and did not know what time it was, I took out my cell phone to check the time, and there were numerous missed calls by an unknown number.  Well, it is one of those dreaded moments when time escapes and the color in your face pales you.  

It was the 911 call center to inform me that my husband was being transported by ambulance to the hospital for an accident.  I will forego the details here, because I could not even breathe when I heard the words of what type of accident it was.  I ran to a friend for help, as I could not make any sense of the notification I had just received, but in short order she had me and one of my children gathered together as we followed that ambulance to the hospital.  One good thing about all this was that, one of our other daughters was with him in the ambulance, and it was his friends who were actually accompanying him to the hospital, ambulance driver, EMT...fireman...the works.  Thankfully he was not alone.  And there was a slew of "comedians" when we arrived at the emergency room to try and keep the spirits up for all of us...Fire Chief aka Principal of the middle school, and more fire dept. gang, policeman friends, gees, guess that pager/scanner thing alerts everyone who matters in our lives.

The accident itself, while it was severe and required surgery, thankfully was not life threatening and he is currently asleep and on the mends, though he must remain still for at least a month...says the surgeon.  Oh my...  He's just not that type of guy.  The troops have rallied, the children (all grown up) are the best, and I am just trying to catch my breath.  For this whole episode from Gloria's wake to the surgery, had only been 2 days, it seems like weeks have gone by.   And I am exhausted!!!
  • Some people strengthen the society just by being the kind of people they are.  (John W. Gardner)
I believe that we are a good, kind family unit.  We are community minded individuals and always do our part whenever we can.  Now I am not gloating, because I also believe that the best type of charity is done anonymously, without seeking acknowledgment for the effort of any sort. However, I am able to draw this conclusion, because the outpouring of support to us has been tremendous since my husband's accident 4 short days ago.  

While our whole family unit was in the emergency room for hours, a clean up crew, complete with wood splitter, had been sent to our home to clean up the source of the accident...which happened while hubby was cleaning up from the incredible Sandy disaster that swept through here and left us with trees down and without power for days.  

Then the next day while at the hospital for pre-surgery testing, and endless paperwork, dinner arrives from a wonderful friend nearby for the children who were at home awaiting Dad's return. The day after that, a truckload of seasoned, split firewood is delivered to our home in preparation for the Nor'easter that threatened to take out the power and down more trees yet again.. (Thankfully that did not happen.)  That firewood was stacked neatly outside our front door and the wood stove has been burning hot ever since, because at the change of the clock from daylight savings the temperatures dropped to bitter cold.  Yes, splitting firewood is one of my husband's favorite past times, and he is not able to do that right now.  Yet, we are warm.   And warmed by the generosity of others.

Feeling safe enough to go back to work for a normal 8 hour day, while hubby was resting and under the watchful eyes of the kids to keep him from trying to do any sort of manly chores, like putting more wood on the fire, dinner arrives yet again to my home just before I get there.  Amazing!  Now this is what it is to be part of a community.  
  • Community has little to do with proximity.” (Aaron Starkey)
I would like to encourage everyone to perform a simple, random act of kindness towards another.  It can even be to adopt a pet from an animal shelter.  I have started a list of things that I will be doing for others to give back for the outpouring of friendship that has been bestowed upon us in recent days.  It involves, baking and sending anonymous greeting cards through the good old USPS. And we always, always pay the toll on the bridge for the car behind us.  Yes, simple random acts of kindness are good for the soul.  Give it a try, it will be the reward that you give yourself for just being human!!!