We are halfway through October and I have yet to do anything noteworthy or epic. Rather, I am continually extending small, intentional acts of kindness. Sometimes I beat myself up about doing only little things, but I won’t do that this time. I’ve had enough beating myself up for a while. I have often written about grief triggers, and how the smallest thing can bring a tidal wave of grief and memories flooding back. And so it is with kindness. When I started doing #AdamsActs several years ago, it was just me and a handful of friends. Now, over 10,000 readers later, there is a tidal wave of kindness flooding communities all over the world. Perhaps there is no such thing as a small act of kindness, if it reflects a big, generous heart.
For Day 14, I treated some of my faves to go see a movie. They more than deserved for it to be my treat, since I moped around like Eeyore the whole night without explanation. We saw A Star is Born - which absolutely wrecked me… speaking of triggers. Addiction, shame, suicide, Lady Gaga gettin’ nakey buns. It was a lot. But, also, really well done and left me with lots of feelings to grapple with. Mostly, shame. Which I have wrestled with to varying degrees for as long as I can remember.
Which brings me to Day 15. I always try to keep items in my car for when I see homeless people. My go-to are boxes of Nutri-grain bars because they are soft. (Harder foods like apples or carrots are difficult to chew if you don’t have access to dental care/all your teeth.) Today, when I saw a homeless woman I planned to hand the cereal bars out the window like I normally do, but today felt different.
Today, I recognized my own lifelong battle with shame reflected back at me through this woman’s face. So, instead of driving by and handing her supplies, I threw my car into park right on 104 and I got out and went to her. I gave her some snacks, but more importantly I looked her directly in her face and told her that she was loved and that she was okay. And then I hugged her like a mama. I held on tight and for a long time. Too long some might say. But, we both had tears in our eyes when we let go. She did not thank me for the food. She did however yell after me just as I was getting in the car,
“Lady! Thank you for the hug.”