On The Receiving End

February 7, 2013

“Well, things have been a little slow in the Acts of Kindness area. We definitely need something inspiring or even an opportunity to do some sort of kindness.” Those were my thoughts this morning as I headed off to the gym.

I have sort of a routine during the week when possible. My friends know that this annoys me, the whole routine thing, but I have my youngest son home with me this year, and he thrives on routine, so routine it is!! One of the things that he and I do together when we go to the gym is a 30 minute cardio activity. I get him set up on a stationary bike and I usually run on the treadmill. Due to some of my son’s difficulties, navigating the gym is challenging for him. He wears sunglasses, headphones, and clings to my arm as we make our way to the cardio area. Our main obstacle is the stairs. There is an elevator in the gym, and we usually take that on our way down, but over time we’ve added going UP the stairs to our routine. It’s kind of a process. I hold all our stuff and he holds on to the railing with one hand and my arm with the other. I have to walk directly next to him so we essentially take up the entire staircase. We take the stairs slowly, one step at a time. We go at a time that isn’t too crowded, and almost without exception people can see that we need an extra moment or two and are usually very polite. I try to smile brightly and distract my son a bit so that we can get up the stairs with a minimum of fuss. My son doesn’t seem to notice, but our ascent does attract a bit of notice.

Today our climb went fairly smoothly and we were nearing the top of the stairs. A woman started to come down but noticed that we needed the space so waited at the top until we had safely passed. I smiled at her and said thank you. And then she did something that has stayed with me all day. She simply put her hand gently on my shoulder and gave me a warm smile. No words were necessary.

Some days a warm smile and a gentle touch are the biggest kindnesses of all. It was wonderful to be on the receiving end of kindness today, and it helped me realize that sometimes our actions don’t need to be grand. They just need to be sincere and from the heart.



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