“Kindness is spreading sunshine into other people’s lives regardless of the weather.” – RAKtivist
So, I don’t know about you, but I am slightly over this whole 2020 thing and am patiently waiting for the backend of this pandemic so that I can get back to the hugging-my-children, seeing-my-friends, hiking & adventuring kinda lifestyle to which I am accustomed! Despite the insanity of everything that we have experienced, and by insanity, I mean scratch-your-eyes-out and scream-into-the night-air levels of frustration, there has also been an enormous amount of kindness that I have encountered over the last few months, something that has absolutely warmed my heart.
Kindness in a call
To say that this pandemic has brought exhaustion to a whole new level for myself would be an understatement. Fourteen to sixteen-hour workdays seem to be the norm more often than not, and that in itself can be overwhelming. Add that to the absence of connection with friends and family in a physical way and you have a recipe for some rather humdrum days. Yet, I am surrounded by a team of administrators who put in the effort to stay connected, who send jokes our way to make us laugh, and who invite everybody to virtual meetings from time to time in the evening so that we can laugh some more (or vent) or strategize or collaborate. In doing so, and by taking time out of their already insanely busy lives, these women have made these past 9 months bearable and often downright hilarious.
Kindness in a craft session
There is nothing like the beauty of Christmas décor to brighten my day, especially at this time of year. In the past, our tradition has always been to put up our tree on December 5th as we start the season out in celebration of Sinterklaas (yes, my children are Dutch). This year, however, life has been challenging with the lack of human contact…so my tree and decorations have gone up with lightening speed to lighten the atmosphere a tad. Missing in all this were my outdoor decorations, as a planned craft session had to be cancelled because of an inability to gather in our homes with others outside the immediate dwellers. Kindness showed up once again with the delivery of a beautiful handmade reindeer on my doorstep. It made an appearance another time with the materials collected from a friend’s cottage and then a step-by-step demonstration by the same friend so that I came away with two beautiful outdoor planters that make me smile every time I walk out my door.
Kindness in a box
Then, there are those friends who leave a box on your doorstep, complete with all sorts of delicious goodies and the makings for a new beverage. This was followed by more laughter on a zoom call as we sat together virtually, laughed, reminisced and enjoyed our makeshift charcuterie board and bevvy in the company of good friends. (In case you have the urge to try something new, give this Smoky Harvest Apple Cider Margarita a try!) The time that our friend took out of her busy schedule to spoil us in the way that she did make my day and very likely my entire month!
Kindness in a housecall…in your driveway
Now, for those of us who are experiencing a Critical (Red) response to this pandemic and are therefore relegated to purchasing only the essentials, some of us may be missing their hairdressers these days. This out-of-control Cruella Deville thing that I had going on was starting to frighten little children, but as there wasn’t much that I could do about my ‘do, I threw it up in ponytails more often than not. And then my hairdresser contacted me and let me know that she had a solution. So, over she drove to my home, mixed up a batch of colour in her car in my driveway, and then left it on my doorstep. My youngest applied it to said ‘do and lo and behold, although the locks definitely need a trim, the wild explosion of black, grey and blonde has been tamed and I can go about my business without making children cry. What she did was above and beyond what was required of her and it definitely lifted my spirits.
Kindness in a parade
Then, there are all the crazy celebrations that we aren’t going to be a part of this year because of our need to isolate from our family, friends and neighbors. One of my friends turned 50 on Sunday, and with that went any possibility of a gathering. Yet, his partner and friend organized a surprise parade in his honour. We gathered in a parking lot, our vehicles decorated with balloons, streamers and signs celebrating our friend and off we went in parade-like fashion, honking our horns and waving like lunatics. The surprise on his face when he came outside to see his friends driving by to honour him was so much fun. I consider myself fortunate to have been able to participate in this!
These are just a few of the ways in which friends have reached out and connected with me. Their kindness has given me a boost on those days when I had little to no energy for the people in my life. They have provided me more than one opportunity to laugh…a lot. They have made me feel better about myself and have provided me with a sense of community that I know that I have been missing so very much since all this began back in March. What it has also done is emphasized my need, not for things, but for connections…for the people in my life who lift me up and make me smile. But above all, although I am not looking forward to the emptiness of my home at Christmas time this year, these acts of kindness have given me a sense of peace about being alone. The added bonus is that they have motivated me to continue to find my sense of adventure by paying these actions forward in the most entertaining of ways. Today, I am looking forward to being creative about how I am going to connect with the people I love. That is a good feeling!