A lesson on kindness

Monday, May 2, 2011

Its been a few days since "the incident" happened, but I have finally let it wash off my back and let ago of the anger and hurt from the whole situation.  I don't want to go into detail about it because it would be unkind if this person accidentally stumbled across my blog and saw that I was writing about them on the web.  And secondly, because for you to hear the whole story would only make you mad too and there's no point in perpetuating anger.

In any case, last week I had something very rude happen to me.  It came at a moment that I was already feeling vulnerable and it stung like a slap in the face (or a dramatic throw of fake kindness at my feet).  I was hurt and angry and baffled.  I didn't say anything at the moment but as the comment/action boiled inside of me, I was getting more and more upset.  How could this person be so rude?  There was no reason to make such a scene, it easily could have been said nicer.  I was completely unaware that anything I was doing was bothering anyone in any way.  I called my stand-in husband (aka, my husband's best friend when my actual husband is in a meeting and can't answer the phone) and said, its not what she said, or even how she said it.  its what she is implying; that I am intentionally being irresponsible and unkind.  if she knew anything about me, she would know how much it hurt me to believe that someone thinks I'm trying to make their life harder.  that's the opposite of everything I believe in and try to be.   and he said, you're exactly right, IF she knew anything about you.  but she doesn't, nor does she try to know anything about you. She wasn't  trying to make you understand; she only wanted to hurt your feelings.

And I think that's what makes me feel the most bad, that there are people out there that are trying to bring others down.  Maybe this makes me naive or very lucky, but I don't know people like that.  and if I did, I don't let them be a part of my life.  I do my best to surround myself by people that are kind and creative and trying to make this world a better place.  The truth of the matter is, this person has been unwelcoming to my family for over a year.  I feel silly even telling you what the basis of their prejudice is but its the world we live in; one where people form judgements based on skin color, religion, political party alignments, age, disabilities, weight, and all sorts of other things that have no bearing on the type of heart a person has.  Our value of worth to this particular person has always been our choice of dog breed and once that was established; we were written off as unworthy of common courtesy. 

Despite my friend/fake husband's kind words (followed by a, so I'm going to have to come to Erie and beat someone up? from my little sis), I was still feeling pretty rotten about the whole thing.  But the Universe* has a way of righting unnecessary wrongs - and about 3 hours later I had another ring at my doorbell.  It was my sweet little seven year old neighbor with her little baby sister, we want to play with Greyson!   she said, with a happy shout that reminded me some people like you even though your pit bull barks at them everyday. The four of us played on our porch that afternoon for a few minutes and then their mom came over to play with us too.  Then my other neighbor (who helped me earlier that morning) stopped to play too.  Then two more neighbor sisters came over and before I knew it - my porch was filled with love and support.  Both of my neighbors (the moms) described how the exact same situation (the one in which I was publicly scolded and humiliated and hurt by) had happened to them within the past month (although there experiences did not incur a public damnation). 

Finally I started feeling better knowing that I wasn't alone, or irresponsible, or that my actions had deserved an ounce of disrespect that afternoon.  For every one vengeful, bitter, quick-to-judge person - there are about six kind, good, understanding people that will be there to sit on your porch and help you laugh the hurt out of your heart.

The morale of this abridged story can be described in the words of Maya Angelou: 
I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

*Please replace Universe with your choice of higher power :)

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