Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Powerful Healing of Words of Love

As this day marks another time of disbelief and anguish in life as it unfolds, and tumultuous times escalate, even in Bryan-College Station, words, words, and more words are flying back and forth. It’s easy to get lost in incessant outrage, and when every sentence you think begins with “Are you serious?” it looks bleak. Yet, something unique happened today, entirely unexpected, and I’d like to share it, hopefully as inspiration.

Early, early Sunday morning, I posted this remark on Facebook:

Facebook wanted me to share how my day went. 😂 😂 😂 Well let me just say this...there are times in your life when you are so grateful you have good friends that love you, and today was a shining example of that. No big story of woe to share here, no reason for worry or sympathy is needed. Just sharing joy this late night hour in having loving friends like family as I feel incredibly lucky. Thanks for asking Facebook and you have a good night, as well. Let us all find a reason to be thankful and share joy, plus the bonus is that we can all find something to be joyful over!

At that point, I wasn’t interested in taking my Facebook friends through my recent “surprise” that had happened just five hours earlier. Let’s just say that you don’t want to climb steep steps in a movie theatre wearing flip-flops. Enough said. But just a few words more about that.

No one cherishes a face-plant, but when one happens that looks worse than it feels, that’s a good thing, for starters. But that thought didn’t bring any comfort to dear friend #1, because I couldn’t tell what my face looked like because her face seemed very calm.

Her encouragement of me to let her take me to urgent care, though, wasn’t heeded because I didn’t need it. I knew I was fine. And first thing, a dear movie patron comes down from the row behind us (as I’d made my way to my seat, sort of), and tells me she’s first-aid certified and was reassuring that I should go get it checked out. Someone had managed to find three theatre employees and they were there like magic, with a bag of ice, paper towels, and one had a clipboard to get my information and see how else they could be of help.

Dear friend #1 followed me home, to assure that I made it home, and I was fine as I drove the easy distance home. On the way I called dear friend #2 and she said, “I was just thinking of you!!! What’s going on?” and I said, “Well, um, it’s a long story but…” and she said, “I’ll be at your front door in 20 seconds….I was waving at her, smiling, as I drove to the garage.

She was ever as calm as she always is and reassured dear friend #1 that she would make me go to urgent care and override me, if I didn’t have a change in what was going on at the time. Two hours later, I decided that it was “almost” better, and I had no pain at all, nothing was broken, everything was fine, but my face said otherwise. Long story short, things improved and she confirmed same, and I knew it was going to be great.

Before I went to sleep, I just felt so thankful on so many levels. Nothing hurt, nothing was broken, and kindness had abounded everywhere around me. Angels all, seen and unseen. I did the standard concussion protocol and woke up every two hours. Each time, I smiled that I knew full well my name, my address, and that I'd been surrounded by angels the entire time.

Dear friend number #3 brought breakfast over the next morning so I wouldn't have to go out. Then, lunch later that day with dear friends, #4 and #5, then life went on as usual. Text messages from all of the above checking on me in person and online continued. The joy of cover-up sunglasses will hide a multitude of facial imperfections. In fact, I rather liked how I looked in those sunglasses, and again, miraculously, nothing hurt. Nothing was broken. Blah, blah, blah.

Moving forward, on Monday, I drove to the theatre to talk to the manager to thank him for training his staff (he wasn’t there that night) to respond so kindly, professionally, and showing true caring. I know he was nervous at first seeing me, as anyone might be when walking in before he’d had a chance to call me. He said that I was on his call list for that day as he was back in the office and had just read the report. I said, “Relax, I’m here to share compliments, with you.”

We had a lovely chat and I asked him if there was something I could do to commend those staffers to him and he said he’d look up who was there and make sure they know. I left with guest passes and concession refunds and nothing but feeling fortunate for everything. Again--nothing broken, no pain. No reason to say "awww" or feel badly for me. Please don't. I am 100% fine!

I went home and found the theater’s web site and sent an e-mail to corporate management to thank the local folks for their actions. When you feel so fortunate, gratitude fills your heart and mind. The e-mail they returned to me was equally personal, thoughtful, and I look forward to returning there for the next movie. The only ironic, hilarious thing is that we were headed to see “Wonder Woman.” Well, I already own the cape, the glasses and the silver bracelets, but I’m not, and never was a Teen Titan, but I did grow up to be an avenger, of sorts, ha.

Life went on, work went on, and five days later, I look much better although I describe myself as “I know I look like a six-year-old helped me with my makeup,” as it usually brings a smile. And, it actually does look like a six-year-old helped me.

So when I went into College Station's Jason’s Deli tonight for a to-go order, I saw a very sweet young lady behind the to-go counter. She took my order and I figured I still looked pretty scary and she wasn’t even flinching, so I said, “Don’t worry, dear, I’m fine; one of those things, I’m very lucky.” And we had a lovely chat and I didn’t think I’d said anything unusual to set myself apart as any other to-go customer.

When I arrived home and started unpacking my healthy sandwich and sides, I was stunned when I saw the napkin, pictured in the photograph above, which reads: “You are a gorgeous person, inside & out. Thank you for being you!”

I don’t think anything has stunned me in a long time the way this message of kindness, included to be found later. I'd done absolutely nothing that I could think of that would have precipitated such kindness. Could not imagine what the trigger would have been, and yet, I gave up questioning the "why" and focused on my reaction. The smile on my face has lasted for two hours now. I’m still smiling.

As the news of the day from many sources around me, national news coverage over things I never thought I’d live to see, other news of hurtful actions against people I regard, who did nothing to deserve it except work hard and being kind, gracious professionals, in a day and time when everywhere you turn, people who are afraid to stand up and speak out remain frozen in their tracks…this small miracle happened.

As I’ve given it considerable thought, one message remained in my mind over and over. The power of words can heal a broken heart; the power of random acts of kindness can change a life and a person’s outlook long beyond the day’s end; and the power of one person to make a difference is endless. It begins with one voice, one action, one kind thought, one exceptional deed, one hug, one kiss, one heart reaching out for another, and from there, the possibilities are endless.

It’s like a domino effect, holding on to hope, to believing in the basic goodness in all people, and searching hard within them to bolster those who need lifting up, to being there for friends who are being treated poorly and unkindly, and offering faith and comfort when people are about ready to give up on the basic principle of “do the right thing, no matter what.” Together, kindness can conquer evil. Together, words of love can bring healing rather than division. Together, people taking the first step to move forward embolden others to reach out for another’s hand can and will make a difference.

Writer Thomas Bähler reminds, “Anything is possible.” Phillippians 4:13 reminds “I can do all things through him who gives me strength.” And my mother said, “Never give up having faith, never.” Wise words all.

Smile, shine, work, believe, hope, pray, meditate, act positively with kindness, always. There’s more of “us” than there are of “them.” Every single day.

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