19 Random Acts of Kindness

Mar 28, 2011

A month and three days ago, Beth’s son was murdered.

Beth belongs to my Savor & Serve community. She attended one of my retreats last year. Over the years, I’ve gotten to share her heart’s desires, to walk with her as she makes a life she loves – and even to know her son a tiny bit, as she posted stories of his wins in robotics and other adventures.

Our community has been extraordinary – from making a prayer shawl to checking in with Beth daily.

And it’s been hard for us to witness her loss.

Personally, I want to run away from it. I don’t want it to be true.

I felt the same way about my divorce, my dad’s death, the earthquake in Japan, the reality of climate change – it can’t be true. Make it not true.

But then I draw a breath. I remember. I know – not with my mind but with my heart and my body – that the more I open to what is here now, the more I will be free – to savor, to serve, to be supple in the face of change.

This does not mean I do not resist these feelings. That I don’t want to click away from writing this – from the fear and tears – and check email or rummage through the fridge or try to come up with a neat lesson for you.

What it does mean is remembering more often to face into grief and fear and let it move through me

Remembering more often to say hi my resistance and let it be here, too

Remembering more often to do this in the name of love and kindness, not in the name of getting somewhere or fixing myself

Remembering the more often I remember is the more often I emerge out the other side into savoring this day.

Savoring the milkman delivering milk in his cow-spotted truck, my dogs barking at him, my breath going in and out, the washing machine chugging away, the yellow daffidols in the green pitcher in the window.

When I can pause and turn toward what I am feeling, and let it move, let it be here, without fixing it, it does open into such a richer field and with it, my ability to be of service.

And only every single time.

Such a big part of being of service right now is refusing to duck the sadness, the fear, the loss. Refusing to put your head in the sand. And refusing to be mean to yourself when you do.

It is hard work, my friend, hard work but holy and so important. We must be willing to witness.

Which Brings me To Random Act of Kindness

Yesterday, Stephanie, one of our newer Savor & Serve members – who doesn’t know Beth – posted that she is going to do 19 random acts of kindness in memory of her son, Jonathan.

I started weeping when I read that.

Isn’t that a lovely way to be of service – 19 random acts of kindness, dedicating the merits to Japan or Libya or a friend undergoing chemo or Beth’s son?

Will you join us? 19 random acts of kindness – doesn’t have to happen in today but let’s say do them all by Thursday.

I would be honored to hear what your kindnesses are – and, even more so, how they make you feel, how they inspire you.

Savor and Serve, it’s all wrapped up together.

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