Sunday, December 16, 2012

A LITTLE KINDNESS GOES A LONG WAY



After 3 months of going through the long and arduous process of refinancing our home, we finally closed and signed all the papers on Monday. The loan was supposed to fund on Friday, but first thing Friday morning I received a frantic call from our title agent telling me that she had put a FedEx label on the package of signed documents and accidentally dropped it at a UPS drop-off. She could not track down the package and wondered if she could come by our house and have us re-sign all the documents. I could hear in her voice that she was bracing herself for my response. She sounded worried that I would be upset. I replied, “That’s fine. Tell me when you can get here and we’ll rearrange our day to be home at that time.” She breathed a sigh of relief. She had been so tense and ready to shoot off apologies and explanations and seemed shocked at my response. She stuttered, “Thanks so much. I’ll be there as soon as I can.” When she arrived at our house, she continued to apologize and say how bad she felt. I reassured her that I knew she didn’t do it on purpose and that it was fine. She thanked me for being so understanding. After speaking to our title agent, I felt embarrassed as I remembered that just two days before I had gotten upset with the policies of an office I was getting help from and took it out on the receptionist. I know I have made progress in being more kind but realize that I still have a lot of work to do. I need to remember that I don’t know what someone else is dealing with. It is hard to remember this all the time, especially when I’m stressed out, but those are the times when I feel I can demonstrate the most humility and strength by being kind.


As I’ve gotten older I’ve become more slow to anger. There are many experiences that have really shaped this in me. Here are a few:


Experience: I used to work in customer service and many people would get upset with me for what seemed like no reason. Initially I would just talk about how rude that person was to me and how I couldn’t believe they acted in that way.


Lesson Learned: I started to try to be more conscious of when I got upset with others and realized that when I got angry I thought it was justified, yet I didn’t give others this same benefit. This helped me soften my actions toward others. I don’t think I make less mistakes than I used to, but I am definitely more conscious of my imperfections which helps me have more compassion toward others.


Experience: A few months ago we went to the hospital for Nami to get an ultrasound and received the news that tumors and cysts were growing on his kidneys. This was difficult news to receive. Nami is very young to have this happen according to the “typical” age range within TSC patients. What made the visit even more emotionally exhausting was that the ultrasound tech had initially told me Nami’s kidneys looked great. The techs are NEVER supposed to try and read results to patients. When the radiologist entered the room, the tech excitedly reported to him that Nami’s kidneys were still clear (he had 2 clear ultrasounds in previous years). As the radiologist examined Nami, he called the tech over and said, “Look at this…and this…and this.” She looked at me nervously, realizing the mistake she had made. As the radiologist’s exam of Nami continued he said, “Wow! This is like a gold mine. After finding the first one we just keep finding more. We’re also finding multiple cysts on each kidney.” I was devastated. I thought, “I can’t add kidneys to the mix yet! I can’t even handle taking care of Nami’s brain!” I immediately thought, “I hope you’ve learned your lesson! Don’t try and read the ultrasounds. That is the job of the radiologist!” I kept those thoughts to myself and consoled the tech by telling her not to worry about it, that I knew she didn’t mean to give me incorrect information.


Lesson Learned: I was happy that I was able to keep these thoughts to myself and extend kindness in a difficult situation. As we have dealt with Nami’s illness, I have felt stress in ways that I didn’t know existed. My experiences with him have made me more understanding and compassionate toward others when they make mistakes that negatively impact me. 

Experience: As I was driving home from the kidney ultrasound, I was exhausted from the past two hours and was crying in the car. I had to pick up my other son at my sister’s and was driving in an area that I’m not completely familiar with. I was in a bit of a fog and forgot which side of the road I needed to be on to enter the freeway. I ended up having to quickly move from the left lane into the right lane. I actually had quite a bit of room to make it (at least 50 feet before the next car), when the driver behind me was so upset that he stepped on the gas, laid on the horn, and almost rear-ended me. I was so shocked and scared, because it seemed to me like he came out of nowhere. I wanted to let him see my tear-stained face and tell him what I had just gone through. I wanted him to feel bad for what he had just done. As I continued driving home I felt more anger. I finally told myself, “Maybe he’s dealing with an emergency and I just got in his way.”


Lesson Learned: As we have dealt with so much hardship with Nami, I have realized on a new level that I really don’t know what another person is dealing with that may be impacting their negative actions. I really had no idea why this driver nearly ran me over just like he had no idea what I was dealing with that day. It made me want to be more patient with others.


In addition to my own life experiences, I have from learned others’ examples. I learned a great lesson from my grandmother (who I miss dearly since she’s passed away). My sister had a very special experience with her that she has often shared with our family. My grandma had many valuable and breakable decorations around her house. My sister was cleaning my grandma’s house when she accidentally broke one of her decorations. My sister felt awful and my grandma just told her, “People are more important than things. It’s okay.” My grandmother’s response in this instance taught me another important lesson about kindness. Another great example of kindness and forgiveness to me has been from my current students. They have been so patient with me in getting their papers graded and very forgiving when I make mistakes entering their grades. They have expressed and shown great concern for me and my family during our difficult times. I am very grateful for my grandmother’s and students’ examples to me. I hope that I can react more like I did toward the title agent and less like I did to the receptionist. It means so much to me when others are kind to me despite my flaws, and I hope I can continue to get better at being kind to others. A little kindness really does go a long way.

4 comments:

  1. Great lessons we are all constantly trying to remind ourselves....especially when we are stressed out.

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  2. I love the picture! Kindness begins with me. :)

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  3. Thanks for these reminders. You are such a great example!

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  4. The post is great as always, and I love the pictures.

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