Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
- Leo Buscaglia

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Lesson from the Other Side

     Today was an interesting lesson on being on the other side of the kindness equation.  Let me tell you what I did first, though.  The back spasms I mentioned yesterday were no better today so I was pretty much unable to do anything.  Not wanting to miss a day on my commitment, I went back to Wish Upon a Hero and looked for another person I could help.  I found a young man who had lost everything in a house fire.  Friends were taking up a collection to help him get back on his feet and I made a contribution to the cause.  It may not go that far, but in conjunction with the contributions from many others, hopefully it will make a difference.
     My real learning today came from having to ask for and be the recipient of the kindness of others.  My back spasms continued to be pretty debilitating, making it difficult for me to walk or move around much.  Since I was unable to drive, by wife had to take my daughter back to college while I tried to manage at home.  At a certain point, I realized that I needed to either get to an emergency room or at least get some kind of muscle relaxant prescribed.  I really hate to ask for help (I know that can be silly), so it took a lot for me to finally give in and call my sister-in-law and ask her to get me to an ER.  Of course she was glad to help and came right over.
     As it turned out, I also called my doctor and he was able to call in a prescription to my pharmacy, which my sister-in-law picked up for me.  She and my brother also brought over dinner this evening.  I know they were glad to help, as I would be if they or anyone else called me.  In fact, it can be rewarding to know that someone needs you and that you can be of service to them.  Yet, even knowing this, it's tremendously difficult for many of us (definitely for me!) to ask for that help.  I'm sure the reasons are many and are complex - from wanting to be self-sufficient, to not wanting to impose, to a host of other factors.  One would think that since I've been so focused on doing acts of kindness this year, I'd be more sensitive to being on the receiving end.  I suspect that learning to ask for help and to receive it gracefully is as important as learning to give help.  It's something I'll be thinking more about as the year progresses.

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