It has been over a month since I last wrote about kindness. That feels like a big confession. It is not that I have not done kind things during that time, and it for SURE is not that I have not witnessed kindness. It is just that sometime I (and maybe all of us?) let “life” get in the way and get too carried away with our “to do” lists to really relax, take in, and appreciate all that is around us.
Then something slaps us in the face and gives us a big reminder that the hustle bustle, hurried life is not a FULFILLED one, and we take a step back (and a deep breath) and re-set.
So, let’s re-set, shall we?
|Focus. Breathe. Re-set.|
I wrote about our neighbor in Florida, Carol, in this blog a few months ago.* She is a dear, sweet, funny, and KIND woman. I haven’t gotten to spend as much time with her as I would like, as each time we come to Florida we fill our waking hours with home repair, remote work, swimming, and beach time, so simple things like “visit the neighbors” get overlooked.
This summer I helped Carol clean out her laundry room. She had a bee in her bonnet that it needed sorting, so we tackled it. One of the things we found high up on a shelf was her collection of paints and brushes. I didn’t know she liked to paint, so we talked about it some as we cleaned. I told her about the popular new hobby of ROCK PAINTING. People in many cities are now getting smooth rocks and painting beautiful scenes on them, then hiding them for strangers to find! Isn’t that lovely? I had been wanting to try to paint a rock, and when I found out Carol thought it sounded fun to, I put it on my mental to do list; PAINT ROCKS WITH CAROL.
Then I got distracted. We painted the front of the house. We went to movies. We rode our stand-up paddleboard… And before you knew it, our time in Florida was up and we had to drive back to DC.
I knew Carol was sick with lung cancer, she had been for a while. But we come to Florida every few months, and she lives right next door, so, “We can paint rocks next time I am in town,” was the excuse I gave myself.
Then we got the news from her family that the cancer had spread. And I had crammed my calendar so full of work and travel that I could not find a way to escape to Florida. The whole situation made me super sad. I really, really wanted to spend time with my friend, and damn it, I wanted to paint rocks with her!
I am a member of a Facebook group of rock painters called Volusia County Rocks. I follow their posts and am amazed by the beautiful things they paint on rocks! They are incredible! So, after checking with my friend’s daughter to make sure it would be alright, I made a post to the group, asking if anyone would be willing to paint a rock for my friend and deliver it to her home.
Very quickly, messages started coming in! It was “rockers” saying things like, “Sure! I would love to paint a rock for your friend” and “I would be happy to take one over to her”. My heart melted. I couldn’t be there to sit with Carol and paint rocks, but these rockers, strangers who I have never met, were kind enough to jump in.
I told the family to start looking outside the front door to see if anything showed up, and before long, gorgeous rocks started arriving. Carol’s husband would bring them in to her, and they were both so pleased!! Carol thought they were beautiful, and her husband, well, he fixated on the rocks themselves – how big and smooth they were – and surmised that they simply had to be from another state… 😊
|A sea turtle! Perfect for Florida|
|What a fun, happy little rock! With a hairband! :)|
|A serene sea scene|
We made it to town in time to see Carol. It has been so nice to sit with her. She has all of the rocks lined up in her “Florida room”, where she rests in a hospital bed. Her family and hospice are taking good care of her and keeping her comfortable. She and I looked through the rocks together, and she held one in her hand. It made me smile to see – and made my heart sing at the thought of the KINDNESS OF STRANGERS, willing to share their art and their love with my friend.
|This marbled effect is so pretty|
|A MERMAID! Isn't she beautiful?|
|It is well. Simply stated, and so poignant|
Love you Carol. And thank you, rockers. Your kindness rocks.
|The collection. Kindness in the form of rocks.|
P.S. - I am not here to preach or tell you what to do, but please learn from my mistake: make time to do the little things you want to do NOW. Don't put them off.
*Here is a link to the story of CAROL’S kindness, posted earlier this year: Coke Kindness
**If you would like to get involved in painting rocks, Google and see if your area is doing it! Many places are, and it is awesome.
***If you, like me, believe that reading/hearing about kindness is inspiring and makes you more "alert" and receptive to see it in the world, "like" Kindness Activist (this project) on Facebook. I post stories and photos of kindness there.
|Bonus photo - sea scene with a lighthouse!|