A couple of nights ago I was skimming through Facebook and I came across the following status from an old friend of mine: “There is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others” (Mandy Hale: The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass).
I immediately “liked” the status and began to think about the sentiment behind those words in relation to my own life and those around me. Now, I’m not patting myself on the back while yelling “Yay me!” from the rooftops, but I can honestly say that living a simple life has allowed me to help out and be there for friends and family when they needed help the most. And not huge, life saving needs, but small, “how am I gonna do that” or “who can I trust to lend me a hand” type of situations.
About a month ago, a very good friend of mine called me in a panic. It was 4:30 in the afternoon and she had been at the hospital all day with a sick child. At one point she realized that there had been no one at home to walk the dog and asked if I would be able to drop what I was doing to quickly run over to her place to take the dog out so he could do his “business”. I immediately said “yes!” and biked over. A few minutes later, I was greeted by a very happy and excited dog who wasted no time in doing what he needed to do once he got outside! I can only imagine how relieved he must have been
My friend was also greatly relived when I called her to let her know that all was good again, at least where her dog was concerned. She told me that had I not been able to help her out, she would have had to leave the hospital, hop in a cab, walk the dog and hop back into a cab, which not only would have cost her a pretty penny, but would have meant that she might not have been there when her young teenaged daughter awoke from having gone through minor surgery earlier that morning. My being able to take twenty or so minutes out of my day, when everyone else she knew was at work or in school, made her life a whole lot easier.
I had another friend a few years ago who, because of her work schedule, realized that she wouldn’t be able to pick up her daughter from pre-school one day a week. She was practically in tears with frustration and was thinking about quitting her job, which caused her even more worry, until I calmly said that I would be free to not only pick up her daughter but to watch her for a few hours until my friend got home if that was cool with her. Suffice it to say, she happily accepted my offer and for the rest of the school year, Uncle Lyle picked up T. every Wednesday right before noon
Now, walking a dog and looking after a little girl for a few hours a week may not seem like much in the grand scheme of things, but when those “small” things have a way of affecting one’s life, usually at the most inopportune times, they can feel gigantically insurmountable! Unless of course, you have a friend or family member who can be there for you when others can’t…or won’t!
It’s funny, when I embarked on this voluntary simplicity journey, it was really to benefit my own life and seemed slightly selfish as I was primarily thinking only of me! I soon realized though that my embracing simple living was a benefit to others as I was happier, relaxed and, just as important, readily available when friends and/or family needed me.
I’ve been there to house sit, feed and spend time with cats, dog walk, baby-sit, water plants, take little ones to the park, visit seniors, teach guitar at all hours, help with virus ridden computers at the drop of a dime and listen to a friend’s troubles over a long lunch at a moments notice. I wouldn’t have been able to do most of those things if I had never found my way. If I was still living life the way it used to be, with a 9 to 5 job, worrying about having enough money to buy things in order for me to feel happy, then chances are, I would definitely not be the same person I am today!
Now, as I have stated at least a few times on this blog, I make no judgement calls towards those who work 9 to 5 and who may not have enough time in their lives for their OWN families let alone someone else. Life doesn’t always deal out the best hand and we can only do what we can do. Believe me, I am always cognizant of this fact and grateful each and every day that I can live my life my way…and if that happens to make someone’s life a little easier along the way, then all the better
Now, I don’t want to come off like I’m Mother Teresa, Brother Andre or Bat-Man because truth be told, I’ve also agreed, on more than one occasion to help with something or other, only to then not give it my full attention and have it fall by the wayside. I’m certainly not proud of those moments, but in my defense, the initial intent was to help, although it would have been better for all concerned had I just said “NO!” at the outset.
Thankfully, we learn from our mistakes and while it has taken me a while to work things out, I no longer jump at the chance to be of service regardless of what that service might entail. I now weigh the facts before hand to see if I truly can be of help, and if so, then I “git ‘er done!”
So…what can you do to make someone’s life a little easier? Just be there for them!
Sometimes all it takes is a friendly ear and a piece of good advice…other times, it may take a little more. It might even be at times quite inconvenient or annoying. But I think we need to keep in mind that while it may seem inconvenient for us, just imagine the worry, the unwanted pressure and the uncertainty that those who truly need your help, are experiencing. If the smallest action can help alleviate a friend or family member’s dire situation, how cool would that be!?
This also flows outwards as well towards the larger society around you. Opening a door for someone carrying a bunch of grocery bags or struggling with little ones. Helping out a homeless person by dropping a dollar or two in their cup. Buying the person behind you at Starbucks a cup of coffee. Picking up the tab when out with a friend. Such random acts of kindness not only make the recipient of such kindness feel nice and special, but you’ll feel mighty swell as well! After all “…in the end, the love you get is equal to the love you give” (John Lennon)!!
So…have you been the recipient of a random act of kindness lately?
Have you been the bearer of a random act of kindness lately?
I’d love to hear you thoughts on this topic, so please continue the conversation in the comments section below.
Take care and all the best.