As preparations for the holiday season begin and your “to do” list begins to swirl out of control, are you leaving room for kindness, compassion and patience?
I can easily recall a time in my life when I barely had time to sleep, much less time to have cheerful conversations with strangers. It was amplified by the fact that the holidays were the busiest time of year for my business.
And then something happened that changed all of that.
I had just left the radiology clinic. It was 2 weeks before Christmas. I had undergone a mammogram and an ultrasound and had been told that I had cancer. There was no one at home, and I felt frightfully lost and alone. I clearly remember stopping at the grocery store thinking I would pick something up for dinner even though I was not the least bit hungry. Cooking has always brought me such joy and comfort. A part of me needed to be among people.
As I walked into the store to the sound of Salvation Army bells ringing several people bumped into me but didn’t even bother to apologize. A child rammed a cart into me and the mother never even noticed. After what I had just been through, these actions seemed to really impact me. I couldn’t help but think “please, just someone stop for a minute and speak to me. Say something kind, have a conversation with me.” It was really all I wanted. Truthfully, I would have been thrilled if anyone had even taken the time to just smile at me.
No one did. Everyone was too busy, rushing to finish grocery shopping, rushing to get home, rushing to shop more, rushing to pick up kids as my whole world was crashing down around me. I will never forget how badly I needed that kindness and compassion that day, and there was none.
We never really know what someone is going through. I’m sure to everyone in that Publix Supermarket that day, I looked like another frenzied career woman; another shopper rushing to get through the holidays. No one would have guessed to look at me that I had just been given the news that I had cancer.
I can think back to several days in my life when the only thing I felt was overwhelm. You know the kind of days I am talking about. The ones where it is just one thing after another. Things that normally wouldn’t even impact you at all seem like huge ordeals until you shatter like a glass hitting the floor. All you really want, is for everything to stop and for someone to be kind. Give you a hug. Ask if you’re okay? Tell you it’s all going to be alright. But everyone is simply too busy to notice.
I’m so incredibly grateful that I have learned how important it is to stop and be kind. Not because we are paid to do it, or obligated to do it, but because we care.
The truth is, at some point in our lives, we will all need a little bit of hope, compassion, kindness or patience. We all, with our good and kind hearts can spread a little bit of holiday magic and love just by simply stopping and being kind. But, we must make sure it’s a priority.