The Healing Balm of Kindness

Jackie Woodside

“My religion is kindness.” ~Dalai Lama

Kindness is a virtue. We have all heard that quip most of our lives. Now we know from scientific study, that offering kindness to others not only makes the world a better place, but it improves your health and wellbeing also. (Cool how that works, isn’t it?)

I’ve come upon one of the hardest times in my life over the past year or so. Not because of Covid-19.

I didn’t get ill, although I lost loved ones as have millions of people around the country.

I didn’t lose my job, although my work in speaking and training drastically changed course.

I have taken all of this in stride, not feeling the profound impact of the pandemic the way so many others have suffered. 

Then why has this year been one of the hardest of my life? I have two family members who are suffering and ill, and I am powerless to help them. I can’t go into the details here because it’s their stories to tell. I respect their privacy, which is a whole other level of isolation when going through something this drastic and difficult.

So why am I writing about it here? Because in the midst of any storm there is a beacon of light that shines through if we are able to look. That beacon has been the kindness of so many people around me who have reached out, offered help, suggestions and support in an unparalleled fashion.

I’m in awe of the kindness of strangers, acquaintances, and yes, my dear tried and true friends as well.

  • One friend spent a few hours refreshing a website browser to help me get a vaccine appointment when I didn’t have time to do so myself. 
  • A colleague offered his professional help for free, for as long as we need.
  • Another reached out to providers who are specialists to make introductions and referrals.
  • Another colleague emailed me today to tell me he put me and my family on his church prayer list.
  • A friend is visiting my loved one every few days to be sure she has what she needs.
  • I have had family members offer financial support and put things in place within hours to insure we have what we need.
  • My tech manager takes last minute requests in stride and takes as much off my plate as is humanly possible so I can focus where I need with my family concerns.
  • And I have had scores of strangers reach out on Facebook to offer guidance, advice, direction, and just a loving, supportive ear because they walked this path before me and know the road all too well.

Kindness for no reason. None of these people had to reach out, offer assistance or go the extra mile. But they were there, with an open heart and loving mind, ready and willing to do whatever they could to help.

I trust that these challenging circumstances are happening for me and that the outcome will be for the greater good for everyone involved. This is my faith for which I am eternally grateful, especially as it is challenged each and every day.

One of the ways I am forever changed, is in the degree I now recognize with a real, visceral experience that kindness matters. Not as a simple epitaph on a bumper sticker, but in the hearts, minds, and lives of real people facing real challenges.

We are all dealing with circumstances in our lives – some more challenging than others – and yet in the midst of all of life’s storms, look to see where kindness shows its loving face.

Begin each day with a commitment to show kindness in life.

My prayer for each of us today is simple yet profound:

May you show kindness for the labor of those who serve your needs.

May you show kindness to those in need.

May you show kindness to those you love and cherish.

May you show kindness to those you do not know.

May you show kindness to plants and animals.

May you show kindness to life for the fact that you are living.
May you be blessed to know kindness from all those you meet each and every day.

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