Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Getting By With A Little Help

Tell me about a time when kindness touched you and made it possible to face the unknown with hope. Years ago, physically depleted and confused, I braved the drifting snow and drove into the city. I had no plan, I only knew I had to do something. I was becoming increasingly ill and isolated in the rural property I shared with my then-husband. 
Intuitively, I drove to a neighbourhood I knew near the University of Toronto. Parking on a side street, I thought, "Now what?" I phoned a friend who lived nearby. She was at work, but her husband, Jim- who I did not know well at all- answered. I mumbled something about being in the city. . . .not being sure why. . . . and wondering what to do. 
Without hesitation Jim invited me to drive over to their apartment building, saying he'd arrange for me to park there. When I arrived, the doorman directed me to the parking garage, and Jim came downstairs with a printed list of apartments for rent in the area.
I wasn't sure i was looking to rent something in the city, and if I was what that would mean for my marriage or my life. But I spent the day looking at apartments and, to my surprise, I gained energy as the day went on.
The thing is, what touched me most that day, was how Jim- this man I barely knew- had responded. He had not treated me as if I was crazy, had not tried to sort out my confusion or solve my problems. He'd offered what he could- a place to park (no small thing in downtown Toronto) and a suggestion of places to look at so I could explore my options. He was kind, and his kindness was a reminder that I was not on my own, that I was connected to and supported by the Life we share.
I think we tend to underestimate how small acts of kindness can make a big difference. We sometimes feel we need to find or give complete answers when, in fact, there are no once-and-for-all answers There's just life, in all it's wonderful messiness filled with opportunities to extend or receive the kindness that helps us through.  
~Oriah "Mountain Dreamer" House (c) 2016

I looked at this beautiful photo from Karen Davis at Open Door Dreaming and thought- if kindness had colours this would be it.


  1. My life work revolves around your message. I forget it is the small things that can matter so greatly and that all problems aren't mine to solve. Thank you for this gentle reminder.

    1. So glad it spoke to you Dawn- thanks for letting me know, Oriah

  2. As a teen I ended up briefly in a children's home.It was run by nuns who treated us horribly.There was though, one young woman who worked there who was different.She even invited me to her house for tea.I have never forgotten this simple act of kindness and how she planted the hope in me that I was, perhaps, someone likeable, someone worth caring about.
    I now work with homeless families myself.Whenever I feel that what I can offer is not enough, I think about her and how much hope she gave me in a time I thought there was none.

    Small things can be big.

    Love, Barbara.

    1. What a great illustration of how there can be a big impact from a small action of caring. Thank you Barbara- I can't think of anyone more qualified to work with people going through a period of homelessness and all the stress that entails. Oriah