Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Kindness. Pass it on.

Yesterday felt like it was meant to be. I couldn't have planned for it to happen that way but there's something about the way things fell into place. It felt like there were special forces on my side, like the stars had aligned for me, and I wish all days were like that. It could have been just an ordinary day, but each positive instance elevated my day to make it an extraordinary one.

Per usual the morning went quickly. I tried to get a couple small things accomplished before I headed out for a belated Mother's Day lunch with my mother-in-law. I needed to pick up my husband's dry cleaning but it was from a place in the same plaza as where we were eating, how convenient! Or so I thought.  For once, I arrive to the restaurant early so I decide to go pick up the dry cleaning I had dropped off for him last week. Mind you it was ready to be picked up the previous Thursday morning and it was now Monday (Oops). Much to my surprise when I arrive at the front door of dry cleaners, the place is deserted, everything inside is GONE and there's a handwritten sign on the door that says:

 'We've moved.....to Belleville'.

First things that go through my mind: Belleville! What the heck! I don't even know where that is but it sounds far! Not to mention the anger and disappointment I'll have to face from my husband if it turns out his nice sport jackets have gone missing. I quickly call the phone number listed, explain my situation and am told our belongings were moved to the new location. I look it up, it's twenty some miles away. Could be worse I guess. I head back to the restaurant to meet my mother in law and we have a really nice lunch together.  Afterward, I decide to do another lap in the parking lot of the plaza since it's so beautiful outside and I'm about to be in the car for an extra hour with the addition of this trip to Belleville. I see an older man approaching the cleaners with his arms full of clothes. When I get close enough I tell him the place is closed/shut down. He looks as baffled as I'm sure I did. "Belleville?" He says. "Forget it, I'm not going out there!" Ha-ha. He asks me a couple questions and we chat for a bit. Turns out this sweet man's name is Joe. He mentions he lost his wife last year and he's really wishing she was still around. His mother-in-law is 94 and has been having some accidents lately that could have led to starting her house in fire if he hadn't been there to prevent it. That and there's just certain things a son-in-law can't help an elder lady with, things his wife would normally be able to do. We talk about how he should get some extra help keeping an eye on his mother-in-law. We exchange names and I try to point him in the direction of the next nearest dry cleaners. Such a sweet man. It warmed my heart to talk to him for a couple minutes and I hoped our chat brought him some good feelings too.
After that it was off to Belleville, where thankfully, they were able to find our belongings unscathed! Perhaps things are looking up today. Next I head to our favorite market for few a groceries. It feels a little strange to be grocery shopping on a week day during normal business hours, but I'm enjoying that it's not quite as busy! Before long, I run into the gentleman who sells/stocks wine there, that my husband and I often see when we're there together on weekends, and we get to chatting, too. Somehow it's alluded that I'm not at work today and I give him a brief synopsis of my situation. He applauds my decision and tells me him and his wife are in a similar situation. She's really unhappy with her job and at the end of the day they're not sure it's worth it for her to keep sticking it out. They have a 6-month old daughter to take care of and I think that has him thinking about the more important things in life. I concur and tell him I'm not putting pressure on myself yet to figure out my next move, just going to take it in stride one day at a time. "Well if you're looking you should come work for me, selling wine. You could work part-time if you wanted. I think you'd like it a lot." Learning about different types, brands and regions of wine and helping people pick kinds they'd like? Sounds like a pretty good gig to me! I tell him I'll have to keep that in mind and I may have to take him up on that offer someday when I'm ready. We wish each other well and I check out.

Next stop, the nearest car wash I can find on my way home. I pull up and tell the young guys working I want the mid-level/cost car wash and I give them a $2 tip. One of the guys eyes light up and he says, "we're going to give you a free upgrade to the top-car wash!" and they proceed to do so. Wow,  another nice surprise!  Is it just my luck today or is it karma? Either way I'm thankful. I went about my business with a positive outlook and I received kindness in return.  If the dry cleaning incident would have happened while I was working, I'm sure I would have been quite pissed off to find I had to go that far out of my way, on top of whatever other stress I was dealing with from work that day. If I wouldn't have decided to get a little extra fresh air, I wouldn't have met that nice man Joe. If I wouldn't have had to go to Belleville and arrived at the market earlier, I may have not run into our wine friend. And  if I would have got a car wash somewhere else along the way at a gas station I wouldn't have got a friendly free upgrade. Obviously I'm alluding to that a number of things could have happened to change the sequence of events of my day, and in fact it didn't go the way I had originally planned, but to my surprise, it was the best way it could have all happened. It was a case of  things happening for a reason that made me think we should worry less about the why and focus more on the how. The how as in, how are you going to react, think and feel if things don't go your way? Are you going to take the news that your dry cleaner moved to a different city badly and drive down the freeway with road rage because your day is spoiled now, or you going to sit back, relax and enjoy the detour and whatever else you may come across while on your way.

I often spend tons time making all these plans in advance and I get frustrated when things don't work out how I thought they were supposed to. But there's so much of life that you can't plan. You can't plan to live in the moment, you just have to start doing it as soon as you can. And if you can go about your day practicing kindness and thankfulness from one moment to the next, you're bound to discover a plethora of positive thoughts, feelings and experiences along the way. There may be a lot of things in life we can't control but choosing to think positively and being present in the moment seems like it would certainly all help us lead happier, less stressful lives. Besides, stressing and worrying about everything never gets me very far; and kindness can be contagious. We are in control of what we do, how we feel and who we surround ourselves with. So my message today is be kind. Be kind to yourself and to those around you. If we each spread even just a little bit of kindness in our lives each day, just think of the effect that could have in our small corner of the world.

<3 Our best attempt. <3

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