Monday, January 30, 2012

The Kindness of Strangers -- A Natural State of Being

I went to help a friend yesterday.  She has had a tragic turn of events.  Her previously athletic, supremely-able-bodied 19 year old son, was in a terrible motorcycle accident in November.  Now temporarily --we are all asserting and knowing -- disabled, her son will be making his way from rehab back home, paralyzed from the waist down.   

After 3 months of my friend and her husband being at the hospital nearly 24/7, their home is in some disarray.  So, neatening and rearranging are in order.  Wheelchair access must be calculated, new apparatuses the likes of which they've never touched, let alone had in their home must be brought in.

So, a few people came to help my friend yesterday.  I arrived and three volunteers had already been there for a while.  The task at hand: clear out the garage to make room for big brother to actually live, since the bedroom the two brothers previously shared will house only the one adjustable bed, wheelchair, etc. 

It was a daunting task, since many things over the course of three months can easily find themselves shoved quickly into the garage to be dealt with later.  Eventually, you have what we discovered, a slightly knotted mess of things to be untangled, reorganized and cleared out and about.  

My friend wanted to do it right, of course, going through all the boxes, shedding pieces of the past, but that wasn't what was needed, nor was there anywhere near enough time to do that pristine a garage clearing.  When I arrived the three volunteers were so sweetly trying to organize and clean around the indecision and stops and starts.  

I wondered why no one was putting their foot down.  Why wasn't anyone saying "No, we can't look at every item in every box and decide if we are keeping it or giving it away!"  Well, that's a hard thing, especially if you've just met the person whose stuff you are organizing.

That's right, two of the three people in the garage when I arrived had recently met my friend and one had just met her less than an hour before my arrival. 
Even though not much was getting organized before I arrived, things were getting cleaned.  These sweet strangers were already covered with dust, already had sleeves rolled up, and energy intact for the long haul.

The volunteer who just met my friend told me today she is inspired to organize a fundraiser.  Her husband, an accomplished well-known musician -- one of the three kind hearted volunteers --- will play guitar at the fundraiser.  Overflowing kindness.

I recently read in Mark Nepo's book (previously featured on this blog) that it is our natural state to be kind.  It is certainly this couple's pure and natural state.  

When we aren't naturally kind there's just a bit of gunk on the gears that are keeping the Engine of Kindness running smoothly, that don't allow the doors to the heart to open with grace and ease. 

I am blown away and inspired by these two.  May we all keep running into these examples of The Kindness of Strangers.  May we all keep working on cleaning the gears, putting gas in the engine, and keeping the Kindness Machine going.

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