Home > Family, Love > Another small-great kindness

Another small-great kindness

Last night I found a bag I’d long ago forgotten was mine.

"Needed an extra backpack; considered (aloud) using my work one. "Or you could use your old one," Anthony said. "My old one?" "Yeah," he said, gesturing toward a small black bag I'd thought was David's. Dubious, I opened it and found ... keepsakes from my 32nd birthday! I'll keep the towel, but by now it's best to skip those glucose tablets and lip glosses, methinks. :)"

Needed an extra backpack; considered (aloud) using my work one. “Or you could use your old one,” Anthony said. “My old one?” “Yeah,” he said, gesturing toward a small black bag I’d thought was David’s. Dubious, I opened it and found … keepsakes from my 32nd birthday! I’ll keep the towel, but by now it’s best to skip those glucose tablets and lip glosses, methinks. 🙂

After my little ones were asleep, I pulled out the old purse journal I’d found tucked in with my commemorative towel. I curled up against one of my sofa’s arms and began reading a random page.

I smiled at catching glimpses of a much mellower me, and a Li’l D who was ever so much littler then than now. I gasped when I reached a page where a beloved nurse practitioner imparted loving wisdom to then-me that now-me desperately needed to “hear.”

Feeling soothed, I went to close the journal and noticed a small, slightly faded piece of paper taped on its inside cover.

old backpack 2

It doesn’t look like much, does it?

But I started crying, seeing it. That $0 price tag reflected another small-great kindness.

My Grandpa G died while my siblings and I were watching WALL-E. We fled the theater at a run after my mom called me sobbing.

A couple days later, we returned to the theater. We explained to the theater manager why we’d left the first time, following which he printed up free tickets.

I saved my ticket as a reminder of how profound small kindnesses can feel in the face of overwhelming grief, for starters, but then forgot about it in all the hubbub of all the life–and death–that came afterward.

Sometimes it’s painful to remember what was. Other times, it’s good to look upon reminders of it and see how much light still shines now from all the sweet what-was that came before.

Categories: Family, Love Tags: , , ,
  1. April 14, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    What a beautiful moment in your life to keep. Empathy. The world needs so much more of that. Thank you for sharing a part of it with us.💜

    • April 15, 2016 at 4:53 am

      Thank you for sharing it with me. I’m trying to really lock in these moments that shine both because it helps shift my away from anxiety … and because they’re hopeful to witness, and also revisit.

  2. April 14, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    Beautiful you by the way! Such a beautiful you indeed.

  3. April 14, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    Small acts of kindness … they are HUGE. Something I enjoy doing if I happen to have a bit of spare cash on me is to pay for the person behind me in the drive-through. It’s just fun to imagine them getting a surprise, you know? But one day someone paid for MY coffee – and I was having such a miserable day – and man, it just put a glow over that whole day. Best coffee I ever had.

    • April 15, 2016 at 4:56 am

      Someone did that for me in Eugene once, so that I’ve occasionally done it, too. The first time I had someone buy my drink, I bought the drink for the person behind me. I drove away, took a sip and realized they’d given me the wrong drink. Though I couldn’t drink it (so full of artificial sweeteners!), I was warmed by the acts around it being in the car with me. That little bit of kindness got me thinking about something bigger and better than being late, which I was then. 🙂

  4. April 14, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    Kindness is even more powerful than its opposite. And less well known.

    • April 15, 2016 at 4:57 am

      I’ve spent a lot of time looking for it the last several weeks, and savoring what I do so has helped ease my heart … in the moment, and overall.

  5. April 14, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    Compassion is right up there with the world’s best medicine. Thank you for sharing this. ❤

  6. April 15, 2016 at 5:22 am

    Oh, that is quite a post. It is wonderful how you get messages in the most unlikely ways.

    • April 15, 2016 at 5:44 am

      There’s this book I’ve referred to often the last few years, Just One Thing. It does a masterful job explaining succinctly the human brain’s negativity bias, which once served very useful purposes but now can create chronic, damaging stress. Mindful of my own negativity bias and how much I’ve come to see everything as a potential threat recently, I’m actively seeking out the good that’s always there and working to “take it in” so that I’m not running frantically fueled by what my negativity bias says is reality. Stopping and taking in each small good helps reorient me and recognize how much is non-threatening around me. The more I learn to see it, the more content I am. Which is all a way of saying that it’s actually quite likely to receive non-threatening, heart-warming messages like this when actively seeking them, whereas they won’t be seen from a mindset that there is potential danger and terror in every moment and every part of one’s surroundings.

  7. April 15, 2016 at 5:41 am

    I loved the other post when you had mentioned you didn’t even realize it was Your backpack! But I really love hearing about the time you took to go through and the memories you found, having just lost my grandfather a few months ago, that story really touched me!

    • April 15, 2016 at 5:46 am

      It’s been sitting close to Anthony’s desk since we moved in here! D has so many bags that I really just assumed it was his and thought naught else of it for … oh, the last three years! It all felt very fortuitous, honestly. My old nurse practitioner was a wise, warm woman, and I felt myself sinking into the goodness of her words at truly the most opportune time. ♥

  8. Val
    April 15, 2016 at 8:29 am

    So good to have found that, particularly at a time when you need it. Thanks for this post, it’s lovely – even despite the sadness over your grandpa. x

  9. April 16, 2016 at 4:12 am

    How lovely, something that evokes the sadness of the moment and then the kindness shown – lovely post xxx

  10. April 18, 2016 at 10:38 am

    I was thinking this morning as I was cleaning vomit off the front of the front walk of my office what total jerks people are. I was also remembering how very kind they can be when we least expect it and need it most. As a breed, we are incomprehensible.

  11. April 24, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    It’s amazing what can inspire memories, right?

  12. April 30, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    Oh. OH. My eyes got all teared up too, reading about your memory… ❤

    Fascinating sometimes, isn't it, finding papers and on other records you've forgotten you even had, and getting to have those experiences all over again — and also new, filtered through everything that has transpired in the meantime? I found some old writings of my own this past week. Some memories sweet, some painful or bittersweet, all of it worth the visit back in time…

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