We've learned that it's better to mind our own business, to keep to ourselves, to not let anyone help because that means we now owe them.
But what if that wasn't all true?
It honestly takes a village some days. Some days, we have to let others help us.
Sometimes kindness looks like your friend bringing you toilet paper first thing in the morning and then dinner later that evening because you got home from the ER late last night and aren’t allowed to drive for 24 hours and you only had one roll left when you came in the door, exhausted.
Sometimes it looks like your neighbor coming to the door just as you are about to pack up your kids and head to the ER and saying, “No. They are staying with us. We’ve got them. Go. Take care of you.”
Sometimes it looks like a nurse touching your foot and speaking to you kindly as you come out of anesthesia.
Or like a doctor who doesn’t make you feel dumb at all, but does make sure that you know that you can ask him anything, and he’ll do what he can to help you understand or to help you get better.
Sometimes kindness looks like a friend bringing over ice cream for your throat that hurts so bad from tubes and from coughing all night, and coming just at that moment when you feel most alone and pissed off at what has happened. Sometimes that friend will hold you while you cry for a second and put you back together with fudgesickles and cookies and cream.
Sometimes, remarkably, kindness looks like the person who drops everything and comes to your house… Understands that you don’t want to be touched or to even have her in the room at first. And then loads you in her car with a puke bag to go to the ER. Sometimes it looks like that friend staying with you in the ER until the wee hours of the morning, watching your favorite TV show while you wait to see if you’ll need surgery. Sometimes it looks like her walking you back to an OR and Being. There. Because your people can’t be. Sometimes it looks like her meeting you in recovery and then driving you back home at less wee hours of the morning, tucking you into bed and spending the night in your kid’s room to make sure you are ok throughout the night before dragging herself up to go to work the next day. (And sometimes when you think of the gravity of that kindness, you can’t speak for the tears that come to your eyes and to your throat).
Sometimes it looks like your friend being patient with you in messages as you process through whatever it was that just happened.
Sometimes kindness looks like your friend reminding you that the F word is completely viable.
In 24 hours I experienced all of these kinds of kindness from an army of women and some doctors and nurses. Some of them live down the street from me. Some of them live 2000 miles away.
This is what it means to be a military spouse and have an emergency. It means that you are at the mercy of the kindness of others….
At first, you don’t think you have anyone in your corner because the people that you desperately WANT there, the people that you are ok with seeing you puking and retching and helpless to what is going on in your body, are on an aircraft carrier or in another state.
But you make a phone call, or send a Facebook message, and then you make another one. And then you find your way.
It’s like the most terrifying game of dot to dot that you could ever play.
But in my experience the lines always get drawn somehow.
When I stand back and look at those connected dots I see a beautiful picture. A picture of people who are there and who ARE the stand in family.
Even though sometimes that game of dot to dot is terrifying and less than ideal.
Because of kindness…