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Posted on 1. August 2013

Kindness Can Change the World

By Annaben Kazemi

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” ~ John Bunyan, 17th century author of The Pilgrim’s Progress

Kindness comes often when we least expect it. When I think about the kind things people have done for me throughout my life, I am amazed by their generosity and compassion. One instance in particular comes to mind: Years ago, when my daughter was just beginning IVIG treatments at an infusion clinic, our family was thrown into chaos. We had just relocated to a new town and had no family living near us. We felt isolated with a chronically ill child whose invisible disease was hard to explain. I was gone from home for a whole day at a time while we went to the clinic, and the aftermath was hard to catch up on. In those early days, it felt like our lives centered around the infusion cycle.

My older daughter had just joined the Girl Scouts.  After she missed a meeting because I was at the clinic, her troop found out about our intravenous immune globulin (IVIG) cycles and formed a list of the nights we’d be gone. They then brought dinner to my family every three weeks for an entire year. The dinners were great, but the families that came over left a much bigger impression. They welcomed us into their hearts and hometown. They helped with homework, carpools and set up play dates. They included us in their lives even though they did not have a child who was ill. 

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” ~Mother Teresa

Small kindnesses can have a lasting impact, too. Sometimes it’s just a smile or a small gesture like holding the door for someone else or a gentle word. These little kindnesses can make all the difference in the world.  Recently, I was preoccupied walking out of a crowded coffee shop. My daughter’s illness was weighing heavily on my mind. I stumbled and spilled coffee everywhere. Annoyed customers tried to pat their coffee splatters with paper napkins. As the barista whipped over with a mop, I looked back at the long line my, and my eyes welled up involuntarily. And, then a kind voice said: “Here, take my latté. Ya know the first the two trips are on me, but when you get to the third, you hafta pay!” I looked up at twinkling eyes and felt humbled by this stranger’s kindness

“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” ~Princess Diana

As I walked into the clinic with my latté, I passed a mom in the lab waiting room struggling with her three young kids. I could see her reaching an exasperation point, so I looked her in the eyes and smiled. Her smile back was one of relief; I was not criticizing her or annoyed with her children. Rather, my smile showed empathy without having to say anything. When we are each fighting a hard battle, especially one fraught with the complications of a chronic illness, kindness goes a long way.

When has someone shown you kindness? What can you do to show kindness to others? How can you pay it forward? 

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Comments (2) -

kathy D
6:06 AM on Friday, August 02, 2013

What a beautiful story.  I had tears in my eyes.  Thank you.  I would add to it that let our lives be blessings to others.  Kindness is a way of blessing the other.  We all need kindness, even the gruffest among us.  We do not know what burdens others carry.

Blessings on you.

Linda Thornrose
5:30 PM on Thursday, September 05, 2013

I pushed myself to attend our Wed night church service last night after a rough day because I wanted to so badly.  However, once it started, I felt worse as each moment passed and ended up trying to discretely go back to the ladies room where we have a little sofa to lie one.  Thank God our church provides a live video of the service for folks like me, but mostly for nursing mothers.  As I lie there feeling so frustrated and praying the 'crisis' would pass, in walked our sweet pastor's wife who must have seen me on the video in the nursery where she was volunteering (again).  She had a baby on her hip, but took the time to just come in and pray for me, then quietly leave.  That is kindness...

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