Becoming Overwhelmed …
Like a lot of people last week, I didn’t feel like doing much of anything. I was emotionally overwhelmed with the fact that every calendar day brought a new tragedy, a new form of ugliness to our lives.
The nonsensical bombing in Boston. The horrible explosion in West Texas. The death of a friend’s 13 month old daughter. The anniversary of the Alfred P. Murray bombing — an event that rocked my home-state and my high-school life eighteen years ago.
I was quiet last week. Blogging seemed trivial. What was there to say?
Ironically, last week I had planned on sharing the results of my first 5K; so many of you cheered me on during my training, motivating me to take one more step even when I hated it. I wanted to show my tired but exuberant smile. A simple three miles was a huge accomplishment for this Mama.
Instead, I found myself trying to make sense of a surreal landscape painted in shades of red and black and charcoal.
Covertly during nap times, I read news updates and listened to soundbites, heart weary but determined to know the latest updates on each tragic event. But, when the Kidlets were awake, I turned the channel and closed the laptop, not willing to let my wee ones have any inkling that life isn’t all chalk rainbows on the sidewalk.
No, I don’t share world events with these guys. They’re too young and too innocent — and I plan on keeping it that way as long as possible.
Then, Saturday came. A quiet Saturday with our schedule free and clear. Nothing to do but take a break from all forms of media . . . and enjoy hot fresh donuts from our local shop and laugh as the Kidlets set carrot traps in a valiant but doomed attempt to catch a young, wild rabbit.
We were in a little, safe bubble — secure from outside interruptions and influences.
A Random Act of Kindness …
Till later in the afternoon … when the Husband opened the front door and stumbled upon a small package. A quiet gift that left me crying as hard as I ever had.
This is the photo I snapped with my phone and then uploaded to Facebook and Instagram. A little bucket of toys for my children … a completely anonymous gift.
Lauren’s Random Act of Kindness Day. I didn’t know about it before this past Saturday, but it’s the beautiful legacy from a life taken too soon. Each April 20th, the family and friends of this girl focus on others — sharing love all over our small community.
I cried as I read about the young woman from her mother’s perspective.
It was beautiful and the bucket of toys was beautiful and this teenager was beautiful.
And a tragic event that could have embittered all who knew her, instead, became an opportunity to care for others. To show people — even random strangers — that there is still kindness, love and beauty abounding… even on those days when we might not see it.
As I put the Kidlets to bed that night, my mind was still hovering over this notion of being kind and putting others before ourselves. I thought of the runners and spectators of the Boston Marathon who, after the blasts shook the ground, ran to injured and dazed people, helping them fight for life and comforting them.
I thought about Texans all over this state who– after hearing of the fertilizer explosion — immediately started giving blood, taking up donations, and offering their homes to displaced people and pets from West, Texas. Without a second thought, they gave of themselves.
I thought about my friend, who in the midst of every parent’s worst nightmare, gave encouragement to the rest of us and openly shared beauty with us instead of just the tears.
The Legacy of Tragedy …
Then, it hit me.
Bloodshed is a by-product of tragic, catastrophic events … but it isn’t the legacy left behind. Kindness, generosity of spirit, and love are what we are left with as the smoke and tears clear.
We see our neighbors and friends and the strangers of the world and we look for ways to encourage and help.
We rush into the streets and try to rescue the hurting.
We put together a few little toys and smile, thinking about the innocent excitement of young children when they play with bubbles and sidewalk chalk.
The point is that — as a human race — we don’t let tragedy define us. We band together and we look for ways to make a difference.
And that’s what I’ll focus on from here on out. I know there are going to be more sad days and events that shake our world. And while I’ll mourn and may possibly even feel fear, I’m going to remember this lightbulb moment and look for ways I can shower kindness on others.