Well guys, we are a little more than 1/3 of the way through the month and I have arrived at the phase of October where I am exhausted. My little empath heart starts to fill up and crack open from all the heavy losses that so many of you give me the honor of carrying with you. I feel for you and with you, and like you, I get tired and weepy. I start to think how much better this would all be if Adam were still here and able to spend his life doing these acts of kindness himself. I get worn down, but all your beautiful messages and seeing your creative #AdamsActs keep me so encouraged. I love it all so much and I am truly overwhelmed by the involvement and how it grows each and every year.
Admittedly though, I start to really stretch things at this point in order to consider them acts of kindness... like "I didn't ram the loud-talking lady with my grocery cart" and "I cleaned up the vomit with a happy attitude" or " I didn't call 911 to report the lady texting while driving even though I assured her (loudly and aggressively out the car window) that I would."
See. These are really not kindnesses as much as they are very basic acts of self-restraint. And not even an impressive amount of self-restraint. Around the mid-way point in October I get to the point where I am just not being violent with anyone and am really proud of myself about that. It's super pathetic and quite embarrassing to admit this when I am sort of manning an international kindness movement.
Still, for Day 12 I have stretched a number of things to the point that it feels like today was a success. For starters, I went grocery shopping for my family. I know, I know... that is more like a responsibility than a kindness BUT I have discovered that if you neglect your responsibilities (like laundry and grocery shopping) for unconscionable lengths of time, people start to celebrate as if this is an achievement. Aside from general busyness, I am also trying to stretch the grocery cycle to save some money. Basically, I have not bought groceries for my family since 1986 and the children have survived on acorns they’ve been harvesting from the neighbor’s yard.
I realized it was time to finally go get some essentials when I legitimately could not pack my daughter’s lunch. I was able to scrap together stuff for the other kids, but my 2nd grader London has Celiac and Hashimoto’s disease and is completely gluten-free. I realized we were in a dire situation when I could only send gluten in her lunch. And I don’t mean I would be packing food items that contained gluten, I mean that I would be packing actual gluten pellets and baggies filled with gluten dust.
Okay, so I still don’t fully understand what gluten technically is, but I know that my daughter can’t have it or she gets all sick and thyroidy. So, I finally went grocery shopping and for my second act of kindness, I decided to hand-deliver London her dream (gluten-free) lunch: a cobb salad. Because apparently my 7-year-old is actually a 45-year-old lady who’s cheating on weight watchers. She was thrilled.
In addition to the grocery shopping achievement (which included a candy bar and compliments to the cashier) and the special lunch, I spent the day working at the house we are trying to sell. Every day that I spend over there getting things cleaned, painted, repaired, etc. is one less day that Tom has to be there. He is pretty consistently going from his regular job directly to the house, working ‘til midnight or later. The children are acting like he’s one of those guys on Dr. Phil who has a secret second family on the side. Except his mistress is a tub of drywall mud. It’s all very scandalous and romantic.
In the evening, Tom and I were on a panel discussion at our church on foster care and adoption. We are passionate about advocating for open-adoption and supporting families who are providing temporary or permanent love and care for children in need. Even though it is an honor and a joy to be included in this, we are counting all the things as kindnesses because we are tired from a long week.
And for my final act of kindness on Day 12, I lied to my friend Lexi about remembering a commitment that in reality I completely forgot about. I did this out of the goodness of my heart to keep her calm. See! If you’re a really desperate lowlife, you too can stretch almost anything into a kindness!
In total seriousness, I'm stretching simple, everyday things into kindness because I, myself, am feeling pretty stretched. I went into this month quite worn down from putting so much work into my little e-book (which is still available for $1.99 HERE) and also from having pneumonia. At the end of the day I still have an incessant cough, five kids, a house to fix up and sell and a world of grief sitting on my mind. So perhaps my real #AdamsActs for yesterday would be having a little self-compassion. I am learning (slowly) that nobody is ever as hard on me as I am on myself. Nobody is as concerned with what I am doing or not doing, as me. Nobody is as disgustingly aware of my flaws and failures as I am.
Well, except Jesus. He knows it all and I have discovered that he is much easier to please than people. Myself included. So, for Day 12, I am going to bask in his grace and generosity and I am going to ask you to count it all as kindness.