A few months ago, a family member suffered a deeply personal tragedy and I wept in sympathy upon hearing about it. We were not that close but kept in touch from time to time, usually during family gatherings, Facebook, or the occasional phone call. I knew I wanted to be there for her somehow and visit her on the other side of the country once the dust settled down. When I finally did, I remember realizing how strong she was and noted how well she was handling it. She took me around her and her husband’s new house and new neighborhood, met their new dog and I felt good seeing that she is in a very peaceful and healing environment. There were some health complications for her that week I was there so I helped her as much as I could and thankfully, everything went well. I tried to be there for her and took care of her the way I would have for my own sister.
After my visit, I had spoken to other family members and told them about how she was doing and how my stay went. It turns out that she had spoken to some of them and I was very surprised to hear that she found my visit to be extremely helpful and she felt that I instinctively knew exactly what she needed at the time. While she expressed her gratitude when I left, she did not communicate those other words directly so hearing them came as a happy surprise. I am not claiming that I “turned her life around” but I am so glad to hear that I was able to help lighten her load a bit during a very tough time.
I think that sometimes we tend to get wrapped up in the craziness that’s going on in our lives that we forget how much our actions can affect others, both positively and negatively. For me, it’s usually shyness that keeps me from reaching out, and knowing this, I am constantly working on it so I can always be more available to people. Kindness does not need to be grand gestures to matter, but little things like a smile or just being there for someone is usually something they would appreciate.
Be a little adventurous this week and reach out to someone you think might need some of your warmth and light!