Monday, June 22, 2009

I believe in being kind to others

I was married with three young children, ages 8, 6, and 11 months. My life seemed to be in order until my husband had an affair and left me for another woman. Within days of discovering this, the world I knew was turned upside down. My identity changed from “married with kids” to “single mom” within a matter of days. This happened right before the holidays, as well as days before the birthdays of two of my children. My baby would be turning one year old. There would be no happy family celebration for my baby’s first birthday and I knew he would never have a memory in his life of his mother and father living together.

That year I learned how hard it is to put on a joyful face and celebrate when your life is falling apart. I tried to go shopping. At first I wandered zombie-like through the mall, looking at cheerful holiday shoppers and families, believing that I was the only one with problems and that I was the only one who was in pain. I didn’t know how I could get through this and provide a normal holiday for my children. I mentioned this to a friend, who told me that there were many others that were also enduring struggles but I just didn’t know it. She convinced me that I was not the only one who felt shattered on the inside but on the outside appeared normal.

This message really clicked with me. In everyday life I began viewing people with a new sense of compassion. You never know what battles are being waged by those around you. I believe strongly that every interaction with another human being should involve being respectful, kind, and courteous, whether they are your co-workers, family members, or the check-out clerk at the grocery store. I believe that treating people with grace and dignity can make the difference in someone’s day, and it is a gift that you can give to others, free of charge. I believe that there are a lot of brave and courageous people that you meet every day that could use a word of encouragement and a smile. Sometimes when things may seem hopeless and problems may seem insurmountable, the kindness that you show to another human being can be a small but powerful gift in their lives. This I believe.


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