"I'm gonna write about the birthday gown that I bought in town when you sat down and cried on the stairs.
You knew it did not cost the earth, but for what it's worth you made me feel a millionaire and you wear it well, Madame Onassis got nothing on you"
This month's story is short because it's simple; be kind.
On Memorial Day I was in my front yard gleefully doing my inner city container gardening (would that I had an entire back yard and a full garden, but such is not the case in life for now). Anyway, it's a good thing I wasn't in my imaginary back yard because on that beautiful, sunny, hot day an older gentleman stopped his car across the street from me and did the "sumpthin' ain't right here" lift of the hood. When there is a head buried under the hood of a car pretty much nothing good is occurring . . . unless you are at a car show where peering under the hood is a pleasure if that's your thing. This car was beautiful. I wish I could tell you what it was, but I can't. It looked like an old Cadillac but I wouldn't swear to it. It had been restored and was immaculate. I wondered if he wasn't so delighted with his car that he just needed to stop and stare at his amazing engine, car people love that stuff ya know. After a few minutes he crossed the street and he asked me if I could get him a bucket of water. I thought I misunderstood and he wanted a glass of water, but no, he needed a bucket. It was hot after all, maybe he had a mighty thirst for a whole bucket of water. Who am I to judge anothers drinking vessel of choice? So I popped myself in the house and got this nice man his bucket of water, pronto. No older gentleman is going thirsty on my watch! Turns out the "head under the hood" thing was not engine adoration but, indeed, trouble. I asked him about his car and he said he had put in a lot of work on it, this was the maiden voyage, but there was no way they were both getting back home without water stops along the way. He wanted to buy my bucket. He pulled out his wallet and tried to give me $5.00 for my cheap ass plastic Target bucket (Cheap Ass Plastic Target Bucket should totally be a band name). Of course I didn't let him pay me. He tried again and we bandied a bit until I said "I insist. Knowing you have gotten home safely is surely worth the price of a bucket". He thanked me and went on his way. Now this story in and of itself is not entirely captivating, any one of you would have done the same. What is captivating is that yesterday I came home to find that bucket on my front step with a note from the older gentleman thanking me for the use of my bucket. I damn near sat down on my steps and wept. I will keep that note until the day I die. That note is a reminder that there is goodness in the world and sometimes it doesn't take any more than a kind word and cheap plastic bucket to find it.
Every day we have choices in how we act towards others and, let's not forget, how we act towards ourselves as well. As the Dalai Lama has said "Our prime purpose in this life is to help others, and if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them". People are going to hurt you, most by accident, but others will just be careless and thoughtless and selfish. Sometimes it can feel like the world is full of hurt and anger and sadness and fear. People hurt others based on their own fears, that's their damage, not yours. When others act demeaning toward you, that doesn't mean you need to be demeaned by it.
Happiness is everywhere. I was already happy when I was just planting my flowers. Then helping a nice man made me even happier, then when he repaid my kindness with a kind word, c'mon, only ice cream could improve that story. But even if kindness isn't repaid, it's still worth doing because it just makes you feel good, and sometimes that's enough. Smile at a stranger, not in a creeper way, just a smile. It makes people happy. Hug someone you love. My yoga instructor hugged me after class this morning and I didn't want to let go, and she didn't push me away and make me let go until I was good and done. There's almost nothing better in the whole wide world than a real hug, c'mon, only ice cream can improve on that. Yoga, hugs, and ice cream; feel free to use that as a band name, I've got dibs on Cheap Ass Plastic Target Bucket. Pay for someone's coffee, go visit people when they're sick, send a birthday card, or say a prayer. Help people. Love People. Be kind to people. And when people harm you, remember this, THEY CANNOT DEMEAN YOU. When I think of this I think of Gandolf saying "YOU SHALL NOT PASS"! And so they shan't.
So, like I said, short and to the point this month. Be kind to one another.