Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Kindness of Others

Since finding out the unfortunate news last week, I've been working to 'rewind' some of the 'unwinding' we did and trying to 'undo' some of the 'doing' we did upon embarking upon this unexpected, short and bumpy adventure.

In general, I think of myself as an observer. That's my role here. I often sit back, watch and ponder people and the world and what makes it all tick. It's actually a bit of a hobby for me, analyzing things to pieces, and it provides rich content for my magazine column, appropriately named "Observations from the Edge." So for me, everything brings insight, something for the mental database.

The first thing I've noted from this experience actually brings me hope and makes me feel better about the world around me -- it's the amazing capacity that people have for kindness. And sometimes it comes from where you least expect it.

While I did not tell many people about my news -- exercising caution in case this very thing happened -- I am amazed at the level of kindness and empathy shown towards me by people who did know, some familiar faces, some complete strangers.

Starting at home, it has really highlighted for me what a wonderful husband and partner I have in this world. His care and kindness have no bounds, and this experience has actually brought us to an even deeper level in our relationship, a place that people who have been married for a dozen years may have a hard time finding together.

Next, my husband's daughter (from a previous marriage -- age 21, at college nearby) has shown a side of her that I wasn't really aware existed. While she is a great young lady, her feelings often seem a little detached, and she can be hard to read. But her reactions to our news (both the good and the bad) have revealed just how much she feels for both her dad and I. She made me feel really special through this whole ordeal, and that is something I did not expect from her.

Then there are the strangers -- the lady at the maternity clothing store, where I purchased some rather expensive maternity jeans -- the store which has a strict "no refund" policy, only exchanges for store credit. I loaded up the untouched new jeans, went back to the store and expected to receive a big fat store credit that I would probably never be able to use. But when I told her I was no longer pregnant (yet understood the store credit policy), she immediately opened up her register and gave me a full refund. Kindness and caring, so totally unexpected.

And the lady at the desk of my gym -- she knew I had been going to pre-natal yoga for a reason and became what she called my "biggest cheerleader", as she has a daughter over 40 who is also expecting this year. She doesn't know me at all yet took me under her wing and showed such warmth and kindness.

And then there are my online friends -- people whose faces I have never seen -- who have sent hugs and kind messages for days on end. I am overwhelmed by it all, truly.

So while this is an experience I would not wish on anyone, I am finding good things to take away from it. My heart, while still heavy, is warmed by the simple kindness of others, and that helps so very much.

I am actually feeling gratitude, thankful for the experience, no matter how badly it may have ended. And I am recalling this mantra: "Nothing good in the universe can come to you without gratitude." Maybe it's really true.


Miss Forthright said...

That was a nice post, M. I hope you're ok. x

SandDancer said...

M - I have to say that how you have handled this whole thing has been so inspiring. I really admire your ability to take something positive from it.

M said...

Thanks ladies. I'm doing okay, better each day.

This experience has highlighted the real blessings I have in my life, things perhaps I did not notice enough before this happened. I really have a good, good life and am truly thankful for it all, good and bad.

I am not a terribly religious person, but I am a spiritual one. I think everything emanates from God. For me, this experience is real evidence of Him working in my life, tapping me on the shoulder and reminding me that He's around. It gives me comfort and motivates me to move forward. And I'm looking forward to the next adventure, whatever it may be.

northern monkey said...

I can't even begin to imagine what you and your husband have been through but I'm glad you are feeling better. I had a close friend go through the same thing last year, and I think you just need to do what you can to get you through it, take one day at a time and move forwards in your life.

As sanddancer says I really admire your spirit and I look forward to reading about your next adventure!