In November 2011, Felicia was newly separated from her husband. She had three young kids, a stressful job, and was just starting to learn to navigate “solo” in the world (insert deep breath). But she also had some super supportive friends who were bound and determined to make this transition easier for her. Here is what she told me:
|Felicia and kids in Disney - she thought THIS was the big event. Little did she know what was waiting for her back home...|
“Despite the challenging times, I had planned a Disney trip for my three kids and me. It was my first big adventure as a single parent. We spent a wonderful week in Florida, during my birthday week (WINNING!!) and returned home to a most wonderful surprise. A group of 10-15 of my close friends had gotten together and coordinated a mammoth effort to clean my home and give it a bit of a makeover. They greeted us as we pulled into the driveway. I had no idea what was in store - I just thought they were welcoming us home with balloons and flowers. But then they proceeded to walk me through the house and show me all of their hard work. It looked like a model home, staged for the real estate market! Every room had been cleaned and re-organized and all of the clutter was gone. And the best part was – there were love notes left in various cabinets and drawers throughout the house, to remind me how loved I was.”
|SURPRISE!! Welcome home to your clean, love filled house!!|
Isn’t that an amazing and kind surprise??? Her friends are awesome!! They were people from all areas of her life - her family (Mom, sister and sister-in-law), sign language interpreter friends new and old, close girlfriends who had been supporting her through the separation, even some friends she had known since elementary school. They all got together to make her life not only cleaner, but less stressful and more full of love.
When I asked her how the big surprise made her feel, she said, “I was speechless...awed...humbled. I felt like I had just won the Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes! It was like they were standing at my door with a big check for me. I was surrounded in so much warmth, love and support. It was truly the most amazing kindness I had ever experienced.”
|Facebook status after the big CLEAN HOUSE reveal :)|
I asked Felicia to consider how her friends must have felt after surprising her. She explained it so well, “When someone is going through a difficult time in life - divorce, loss of a loved one, loss of a job, etc, people often don't know what to do or how to help. I was at one of the lowest of the low times in my life, and while I knew I had an amazing support system in place, people didn't know what to DO for me. This was how they could help - they sacrificed their time (and their hands and knees) to scrub my house from top to bottom and make it a warm welcoming place for my kids and I to return to. They wanted to help and they sure did. They showed their love and support. I can only imagine how such a selfless act affected each and every one of them.”
The main premise of this Kindness Activist project is that when we hear about kind things that others do or receive, we are in turned inspired to be kind. So I wondered if RECEIVING this amazing, generous kindness made Felicia want to “pay it forward” and be kind to someone else. I was not surprised when she said, “ABSOLUTELY! Most definitely!”
She says, “While I have always had a giving spirit, I was in a tough spot and really couldn't even take care myself. But this act of love reminded me that I was going to be ok and that I was strong. It revived me. There hasn't been another experience in my life that parallels this act of love and kindness in terms of the power it had to lift my spirits and make me feel loved. I am still humbled by the kindness they each contributed to. And I know today as much as I did then, that I am a lucky girl and that I have some AMAZING people in my life!”
|This photo of Felicia and kids captures it perfectly - L O V E.|
Well Felicia, I agree with you. That was an awesome gift of kindness that your friends and family gave you. Thanks for being willing to share it with us and inspire OTHERS to be kind.
If YOU have given or received kindness, please tell me about it! I would love to be inspired by your story. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . And “like” Kindness Activist on Facebook!