Saturday, December 14, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness: A Dedication to the Innocence Lost at Sandy Hook

The tragic event of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre on December 14, 2012 is still a haunting devastation to me. Whether you knew someone personally or not, it affected all of us. I still cry at the innocence lost that day. After the tragedy, I was angry. I was upset. I cried at the sight of the victims on the news. I wanted to cast blame. I wanted answers! As a mom, I, of course, thought, “I just can't imagine the pain those poor parents are experiencing.” But I was still able to do something those parents couldn't: I was able to hug my children a little tighter, look into their eyes a little longer, laugh at their childish antics, cheer at their ball games, smile at their triumphs....Things that were taken from those parents, one year ago today.

So last year, rather than try to make sense of it or search for answers that didn't exist, I put on my rose colored sun glasses and went in search of all that was precious and good. In a world that has a potential for so much hatred and evil, I knew that there was also a lot of kind and wonderful out there....I just had to look for it. So I went in search of “Random Acts of Kindness”. If I didn't witness someone else doing it, I did something myself. I shared these things on my Facebook pages last year, and I received so many sweet comments. It turned out to be a gift I gave myself last year that made a huge difference in how I kicked off the year 2013. It made such an impact, I decided to re-post them again this year. These posts will start tomorrow, and go for 26 days: One “Random Act of Kindness” in honor and memory of each life that was lost last year. I have read several posts over the year of my Facebook friends either being the “do-er” or “receiver” of a “Random Acts of Kindness” (or “Paying it Forward”), so please feel free to add your experience in the comments of these posts for everyone to enjoy!

This experience last year gave me more peace and motivation than I could have ever imagined. As I am usually exhausted, (and more than a little cranky) after the holidays, I had a sense of calm and hopefulness that I couldn't really explain. As is my usual business practice, the last week of the year I spend time planning the upcoming year. Last year, even though I had an extremely challenging year, I felt strangely peaceful, but excited with anticipation as I planned for 2013. This year, I changed my focus from what was wrong to what was right, and how could I make “it”, (whatever “it” might be) even better. I tried to treat people the way I thought THEY would want to be treated. I tried to be sympathetic and to understand that other people's behavior may be the reaction of something beyond their control. I tried to put myself in other peoples shoes----The guy that cut me off in traffic obviously had a much more important matter to take care of than I did.....The crabby lady in the drive-through that didn't say much more than an inaudible grunt as she handed me my bag of food was probably upset because she just got a phone call about an ill family member...The woman in the grocery store that was yelling at her kids in the middle of the store was probably stressed about paying for her groceries after learning her husband had just lost his job. Rather than being a jerk, rolling my eyes, or worse, I am humbled to realize, that could just as easily be me.

So as 2013 comes to an end, I reflect and realize how blessed I am. I live in an amazing community that makes me smile. Just yesterday, after I dropped my son off at school, I had to dash into the grocery store at the last minute. Now keep in mind, it is 7 am, and I had just thrown on a sweatshirt, yoga pants (that have NEVER been to a yoga class), and sneakers, thinking I could dash in and out and no one would pay much attention to me. Yet, as I am running back to jump into my car, a gentleman exits his car next to mine (which, at that hour, is the ONLY other one in the parking lot), throws his hand up, flashes a great big smile and shouts, “Merry Christmas, young lady!” How could you not smile and have a great day after that! I smile at how blessed I am that my son has amazing teachers youth leaders and baseball coaches that are molding and shaping him into the man he is going to be someday. I smile because my son has chosen the most amazing kids as friends, that any mama would be proud of! I smile because both our girls are hard-working college students. I smile when they come home for the holidays and want to experience the same old family traditions. I smile because I am blessed with an amazing, responsible husband that is a wonderful provider and also an awesome dad to our three kids.

I realize how blessed I am to work for a company that is a perfect fit for me. My broker is quite simply: amazing. My colleagues are like an extended family and all are simply wonderful. Our administrative staff just couldn't be any better. We are all blessed with a beautiful work environment at Golden Key Realty. And lastly, by finally taking a leap of faith, I have one more blessing: my newly hired assistant that has the same passion and enthusiasm for my business as I do!

I realize how blessed I am to have the most amazing clients. They entrust me to help them with one of the largest, most important purchases they will make in their lifetime. They share their families with me. They share their dreams with me. We share lots of laughs, and yes, sometimes tears.

So take a look around you and count your blessings. Then pass along some of the goodness in your heart by helping someone that could use a little kindness. Do it in memory of the precious babies and teachers that lost their lives last year. I will guarantee you this: The more kindness you give, the more you will receive!