December 16, 2012

Make it so, doods

Ok, this is crossposted from the Woman's blog because she wrote it and doods, it should happen. Share it. Get your friends to share it. Let's turn this coming week into something really good.
Ok, so for far too many people, crappy week was…crappy. One farkwad shot up a mall, followed by another shooting up a school...The enormity is hard to comprehend; the loss of so many kids is especially hard to understand.

Don’t get me wrong: it’s difficult to comprehend shooting anyone. For anything. I cannot wrap my head around being so broken that I would pick up a weapon and take out so many innocent people. I’ve been angry enough to want to bitchslap a person back into the 1800s, but have never felt like I wanted someone dead.

But…that’s not even what this is about. This is about the collective pain felt around the world. I doubt unless you’ve been in that situation, you can really empathize with the victims or their families and friends, but you can still feel buried in sorrow, disbelief, anger…and impotence.

That impotence, the wanting so desperately to be able to do something for someone you can really do nothing for, I understand that. I would think that we all do, because there aren’t many people out there who haven’t wanted to reach out in a situation where one simply cannot.

In spite of the violence of this past week, I still stand firmly in my belief that most people are basically good. There is evil in this world, but more than that, there is good.

If you look hard enough, it’s all around you.

A few weeks ago, someone on reddit posted a question: what’s the nicest thing someone has done for you?

A lot of people have done a lot of nice things for me, but the one that immediately popped into my head… First off, if you’ve read my blog from the beginning, or near it, you know that I have diabetes insipidus, one of the lingering issues from a pituitary tumor in 2002. The result of that is that I am frequently thirsty. Very thirsty. It’s a violent thirst that until I experienced it, I never would have imagined it possible.

I take medication for it, but sometimes it wears off early, and I turn into a drinking and peeing machine.

One afternoon I was at Walmart, and started feeling the thirst ramp up. So on my way out, before it reached proportions of Oh Holy Hell, I stopped at the vending machine to get a soft drink. Hey, 50 cent Walmart brand diet cola-like product, not so shabby, and it would do the trick.

I stood there, wrist deep into my pocket trying to find enough change, muttering to myself because all I could feel bouncing off my fingertips were a couple of dimes and a few pennies, when this guy reached over my shoulder and dropped a couple of quarters into the machine and said it was on him.

Before I could protest—I had a dollar in my wallet and the machine took bills, too—or even really thank him, he had turned and was walking away at a pretty good clip.

This guy had no way of knowing that I wasn’t just some chubby, middle aged housewife caving into a sweet tooth and getting a sugar-laden can of crap. He had no way of knowing that I was truly thirsty, deep down painfully thirsty. He just saw someone struggling to come up with a couple of quarters, and was thoughtful enough, and generous enough, to buy her a no-return-expectations drink.

It was such a small gesture, yet for me huge in the generosity of it, that it stuck with me.

Random act of kindness.

I’ve thought about that question posed on reddit on and off since. As I recall, there were thousands of answers, but that didn’t and doesn’t surprise me. People do nice things for other people all the time, all these seemingly little things that add up to making others—and yourself—feel good.

In the last week, two major things have made us all feel horrible. You know it’s a special kind of awful when the news anchors and the President are choking back tears. You know it’s heinous when you sit there watching news you don’t want to see yet can’t turn away from, with your hands held tightly over your mouth in utter disbelief. You know it’s a collective agony when you find yourself mourning people you never had a personal connection to, crying for someone else’s children, battling the thoughts of how horrible it all is.

The shoes by the door that will never again be worn. Underwear wadded up in that little-kid way in dresser drawers that might stay there untouched for a decade. Toys left scattered in back yards that will never again be played with. Christmas presents under the tree that will be put away, never unwrapped. Laughter that will never again tease a parent’s ear.

It hurts so much because we can all connect ourselves to the idea of loss, the deep terror of losing a child, the depth of the something we never want to experience. The depth of what no parent should ever experience.

We can’t take the pain away from the parents, families, friends, spouses, and significant others of those ripped away in the last two weeks.

But we can do something.

Even little things.

Make this the week you do random acts of kindness. From tomorrow, December 17th until December 23rd, deliberately do things, large or small, for someone else.

Tip your waiters and waitresses a little bit heavy.

Make a grocery run just for your local food bank.

Wave your skepticism aside and hand over $5 to the guy on the corner with the cardboard sign.

Buy a few extra toys for Toys for Tots.

Pay for a stranger’s coffee.

Buy dinner for that young couple three tables over.

Rake the leaves in your elderly neighbor’s yard.

Visit random acts of pizza, feed someone.

Shove a couple of quarters into a vending machine for someone you don’t know, and walk away quietly.

Just for a week, make the effort to see what small things you can do for someone else.

I promise, you’ll feel good.

And if the world really does end on the 21st, well, at least you’ll go out knowing your last days were spent trying to make this a better place, even for just a few random people.

Share the idea with your friends. Let's really do this.

Kindness needs to win.


Quill and Greyson said...

I think your mom is pretty darn cool. What a great idea.

Unknown said...

I had someone do something extraordinary for me recently. I have diabetes too and I'm on dialysis. I Ieft my lights on when I went in for dialysis early one morning (older car), and my battery was dead after 3 hrs. A man from one of the offices must have been keeping an eye on my dimming headlights because as I walked toward the stores to ask someone if I could borrow a phone book he walked out towards me. Well, this total stranger volunteered TO JUMP MY CAR! He said he figured I was in receiving dialysis and his kindness saved me! I had to share.

Angel, Kirby and Max said...

THis is a great idea. It does not have to involve money, either. Hold a door for a mom with her arms full and several kids trailing behind. Pick up the toy the tot at the next table dropped. THere are a million ways to be kind and giving!

Sparkle said...

What an awesome post - thanks for sharing it with us, Max!

The Meezers or Billy said...

awesome!!! and a great idea

Mickey's Musings said...

That is just SO cool !!!!!!
Wonderful idea!
Purrs Tillie and Georgia,
Tiger,Treasure,JJ and Julie

Unknown said...

Great idea- a bright lighr shining in the darkness of the past week.It reminds me of the film Pay It Forward. If you have not seen it,I highly recommend it.

Unknown said...

Great idea- a bright lighr shining in the darkness of the past week.It reminds me of the film Pay It Forward. If you have not seen it,I highly recommend it.

The Island Cats said...

What a truly great idea! And let's hope this idea catches fire and it lasts more than just a week...that we do random acts of kindness any time...just because.

Anonymous said...

I am on a limited income and have only $2 to my name and more than a week before I get my next check. I had no gas in my car. A friend gave me $10 to drive her to church and than another very new friend gave me a $25 gift card which I can use to put gas in my car for the next week. I was totally dumb-struck by these 2 acts of kindness and I am so totally grateful for these good friends.

Gemini and Ichiro said...

Kindness and sharing our own love for others is the best way to change our culture that so embraces violence. Maybe these small acts can create a ripple that reminds more people of the importance of even the tiniest of actions and how they can change someone's day. I know I appreciate it when someone slips me an extra fishy flake.

Angel Prancer Pie said...

This is a MOST EXCELLENT POST! We'll do it!

Vicat said...

Our doodmomlady is sharing it on her page, and asking what the nicest thing anyone has done for her friends, hoping it will encourage nicer thinking if nothing else.
~BratCat & Rags

Spitty-the-Kitty said...

This is the first thing she's read since Friday afternoon that makes the Human feel better. She'll start tomorrow.

Heck, maybe I'll even be nice to her.

Mark's Mews (Ayla, Marley, and Laz) said...

TBT here: Random Acts Of Kindness can become a wave of the future. It doesn't really matter what they are. Some are more important than others. But the habit is the important part.

I am partial to adding a coin in a parking meter I see expired. Minor frustrations like parking tickets matter.

Other methods may be better for other people. Food coupons for the homeless come to mind (and I used to do that too - but I no longer work in a city).

Sending Christmas cards to lonely people matters to them. A few years, I found out a relative had died before my Christmas card arrived. The new occupant of the room was delighted to receive a card (they wrote to me to tell that). But find a local hospice and ask for addresses to send cards to.

The possibilities are endless...

Princess Judy Palmer said...

One nice thing someone once did for me when I was a young adult. Several of us in a car ran out of gas and pushed it into the station. We then started digging through purses, ashtrays, the backseat trying to get enough change to put some gas into the car. A stranger came up to us and handed us a couple of bucks and said, "I was young once. I've been there and done that. All I ask is that you do the same someday." And I have several times over. Little things can mean so much.

Shaggy and Scout said...

Getting here to visit late as usual but it's never too late to do the random acts.
The more one does the better one feels. Wouldn't it be great it if became a habit to brighten someones life now & then.