Sunday, September 30, 2018

Kindness, Some Kind of Way

I’ve come to realize kindness can be shown in many kinds of ways. It’s something that can have a message of friendliness; it's something that can have a message of encouragement or maybe even hope.

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About a year ago, on a Friday night in September, I was feeling frustrated, 
underappreciated, and overwhelmed. I had recently begun a new internship 
as a research assistant. Amidst the other stressors of my first semester of 
college, I was in an unfamiliar workplace where I didn’t know anyone,
and I felt as if they didn’t want to get to know me.

On this particular Friday, I was working late, past dark and I was worried 
about how I would get back to the other side of campus, upset that this was
the third weeknight I had worked in a row and that I hadn’t yet studied for 
my exam coming up on Monday.

I try to live by the idea that I always have the choice to change my outlook 
on the situation. This was one of those times when I couldn’t bring myself 
to see the positive. At that moment, Grace, one of the graduate students in 
the lab where I was interning, decided to stop by.

She told me to stop by her office when I was done for the night to grab a hot cup of tea for the bus ride home. That small gesture gave me what I needed 
to finish my tasks with purpose and feel like my work was worth it.

When I wasn’t strong enough to change my perspective, an act of kindness
helped me change it. Grace and I became friends, and she helped me realize 
that it’s not the absence of stress that makes life pleasant, it is the kindness 
we show each other.

Now, a year later writing this blog on a Friday night in September, I am no 
longer trying to manage the stressors of my first semester in college or 
trying to find my role in a new internship, but there are certainly still things 
that upset and worry me, just as there are for you.

My roommate Melodee and I have a friend we call upon whenever we need
ice cream. Today was one of those days we called. A Friday where we were 
doing homework, preparing for exams and worrying about what the week 
ahead might bring. Without hesitation, we called Drew, and he showed up 
with our favorite flavor of ice cream as well as our favorite brand of popcorn.

What I realize is that it wasn’t about the warm cup of tea for the ride home orthe ice cream delivered to our door. It was about the gesture. It is a reminder 
that there is more to life than exams; there are people who care and they give us what we need to carry on and find peace in the moment.  

We don’t always have to buy people gifts, hand deliver ice cream or know
the perfect thing to say. I think being a good friend and a kind person is 
spreading kindness in a way you know how. Spread a little more kindness
in more moments each day and maybe they will be received as what 
someone needs to keep going or find joy or hope in the moment.

Let’s serve those we love through kindness, and let’s be kind as an act of
service to those around us.

There is a quote that says, "Sprinkle kindness everywhere like confetti.” 
I can see why kindness is seen this way, but maybe we don’t need to take
on sole responsibility for giving out kindness like its air or throwing it
like it's confetti. Maybe it is enough to know that if we all sprinkle a little 
bit every day, together, we can reach the world with our confetti. Let’s 
commit to showing kindness in a way we know how, or at least showing 
it somehow each day.

How can we show everyday kindness? How will you build others up in their time of need? When did someone show you kindness? 
How can you pass it on?

Stationed Beneath the Rising Sun,
Grace Taylor

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