Almost six months ago, I broke my ankle. It was a serious injury, and I was told that I should not expect to return to normal for at least six months. As I approach this healing milestone, I have been reflecting on my broken ankle experience.
The first three months were an enforced down time, no driving, a lot of pain, moving very slow, and learning to ask for help. Thinking back, I continue to be pleasantly surprised by the number of people who helped me and exhibited care since my accident. Some of them had to help me, like my husband, my mom, and my best friends. I am incredibly appreciative of their support: Meals that were delivered, dishes that were washed, and my eight-year old’s forgotten lunch that was delivered to her school.
But most surprising has been the kindness I received from people I don’t know all that well, or even at all.
I am heartened—really heartened—that so many people went out of their way to help me in my time of need. The parents of my kids’ classmates who made us meals and drove them to and from school. The mom who texted me and told me how happy she was to see me the first time I was able to pick my daughters’ up after school by myself. The Uber drivers who jumped out of the car to open the door when I was walking with crutches. The strangers who opened doors for me and picked up things I dropped. The PE teacher at my kids’ school who emailed me regularly to see how I was doing. Just this morning, an eleven-year old at the school science fair, asked “Jeannie how is your leg doing?”
The list is long and I could give you a whole host of examples, but you get the idea…for almost six months now, I have been the recipient of kindness from people known and unknown, young and old, near and far.
Recently, I’ve felt barraged by increasingly frequent media reports about acts of hate in our country. When I follow the news, it’s easy for me to go to a very bleak place. I hear stories about school shootings, sexual assault, and violence motivated by racism. I start thinking that “people are evil” and “our world is going to hell in a handbasket.” Between the news and my enforced time of “resting” on the couch during this months-long healing process, the past six months could have been a depressing experience.
Instead, it has been a time of hope. It has reminded me that people – the vast majority of people - are kind. I plan to remember this.
I have significant scars from the surgery required after my injury that could be a reminder of the pain and difficulty that followed the surgery. Or they could be a reminder of the kindness that was bestowed upon me during my recuperation.
Moving forward, each time I notice my scars, I plan to take a moment to be grateful for all the friends and strangers who were kind to me. And, I plan to make my own contribution to making the world a kinder place, to remind myself and others that people are kind. Yes, there are hateful and unkind people in this world. But that is not most people. Most people are kind. To learn this at a time when I was most vulnerable, literally not able to stand on my own two feet, is a gift.
We can always offer kindness to another human being. It is free, abundant, and a little goes a long way.
Author Jeannie Macnab is a Workplace Transformation Intern with Results Washington and an active participant in the community of A Human Workplace. She is leading the launch of A Human Workplace Seattle which will begin meeting May 17th. More information on this coming soon.
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