|Gotta love this love.|
My lovely husband had a few drinks, so i was driving the car. On our way, we passed an area that is next to a big lake and a long Dam. This area is empty of any buildings or civilization of any kind and is just a construction site.
My kids and husband were very sleepy and everything was calm till suddenly i noticed something unusual. I wasn't sure if i saw correctly. But i thought i saw a woman crying and walking in the dark next to the road with her arms tucked under her arm pits hugging herself. With the darkness all around us and the freezing temperatures outside, at first i thought i was wrong and i just imagined it. But then this nagging thought came to my mind. What if i didn't imagined it.
"I think i just saw a woman walking next to the road alone" I said to my family. " Should i go back and check on her?"
The first instinct that came to my family's mind was " NO. What if she is a bad person and has a gun?" My daughter said.
"Don't worry, i am sure someone will stop to help her if she needs help. Who knows who she is. Don't risk it" Said my husband.
" I am scared" Said my little boy.
I suddenly decided to just turn back and check to see if i saw correctly or not. My daughter started panicking." What if she is a bad guy. Don't do it mom. I am scared. She is going to kills us all" She said.
I just made a U turn" I will just check to see. Don't worry. What if she needs help? It is too cold for the bad guys to be out and about." I said.
We turned back and after couple of minutes there she was. A woman in her forties walking in nothing but some pyjamas, shaking. I stopped the car in the opposite side of the road and asked if everything is OK and if she needs any help. She was shaking and crying. She couldn't even answer. I tried again and asked if she needed a ride. She started weeping and walked towards our car. My daughter went to the back seat to make room as we opened the door for her. She sat in the car and kept weeping. She was shaking so bad that she couldn't even talk. I gave her my jacket and we warmed the car up for her.
She kept saying" Oh I am so cold. I thought i am going to die tonight. I am just so cold. So cold"
I turned around in my seat and held her hands trying to comfort and calm her. She cried and cried for a long time while we were just waiting for her to calm down. Holding her hands, I noticed she had a nice wedding ring and some other jewellery on. She did not give the impression of being a homeless person at all. Not that it would make a difference to me. But made me thing something unusual has to happen to her.
Finally after a long cry she started to calm down. I asked her where she wants us to take her.
"I want to come with you. Every where you are going, i come." She said and started crying again.
"So sorry, we can't do that. But I can give you a ride to anywhere you want to go." I said.
" I am so sorry. You are right. I am so ashamed. I am just so ashamed" She said.
" Is OK. How long have you been walking? This place is far from everywhere." My husband asked.
" My husband threw me out of the car. We had a fight. I thought he would come back for me. I started walking towards our home. But it is so cold. I felt i can't walk any more. I thought i was going to faint. I was sure i am going to die tonight. God bless you" She said.
" Did any body stopped to help?" I asked thinking some people might have stopped and she didn't feel comfortable getting in to their car.
"No. Nobody stopped to help. You were the only person" She said.
I was speechless. Didn't know what to say. Lets say her husband is crazy. But nobody stopping to help her was what stunned me. So we drove her home in silence and she finally stopped shaking. She gave me directions and her home was almost 20 minutes driving. She would have never survived the night and would have dies from Hypothermia if she had to walk that distance. She was also pretty far a way from all the homes and stores. If she couldn't go any farther and sat somewhere or passed out , It would have been impossible for anybody to see her next to that dark and quiet road.
Once we got to her home, we waited for her in the car to make sure she can enter her home. She said she didn't have a key. She came back with a smile and handed me my jacket back. She said she did get in through the doggy door and her husband was not home. In my heart, for humanity's sake, i hoped he was out looking for her.
She smiled and said Thank you and god bless you and your family and went inside. We all took a deep breath and my kids that kept quiet up till then, started attacking us with questions. We all slept deeply in thought that night.
This incident made me think hard and long. What make me wonder, was that i remember, when i was a kid, back in Iran, stopping and helping and giving ride to people was the most normal thing. We did it all the time. Stopping and helping was just a natural part of life. Based on what i hear, this used to be natural and normal here too. But what happened? What caused us to forget our small kindnesses. What i did that night, did not appeared to me as an extraordinary act. It felt like every body would have done the same and yet there we were, the only people that stopped.
When I look around, i see love and kindnesses every where. It is there in people's heart. But what causes it to be faded away and lost in some cases? What is the reason for all these wonderful people to ignore their inner kindness?
One example of pure kindness without any expectation is my wonderful neighbour. She is one of the sweetest people and has a very beautiful heart. Every time, she returns back our garbage or recycling bins to our curb side( The weeks that we have the need for. We are almost waste and garbage free). I never asked her to do that. She just does it out of kindness. I found out that she does that for other neighbours too.
Here is a Photo of my wonderful and sweet neighbour. Here is a face of kindness.
The same neighbour helped our other neighbours a lot when they had a problem with mold, with opening the doors to her house to help that neighbour. She also organized a nice birthday party for one neighbour's son that turned 16. Seeing these apparently small but enormously beautiful kindnesses coming from her, makes me believe in humanity.
Another deep memory i have about the kindness goes way back to my student days. I studied dentistry in Romania. Back then, it was a deeply troubled country that just came out of communism and people were trying to adjust to the new lifestyle.
Everything was sacred. The winters were so cold and i never forget how everything would freeze inside my small room i rented, not to mention the outside.
It was during my exam periods and i hadn't slept all night studying with some low music on. I didn't have time to go shopping and had nothing to eat. My exam started at 7:30 in the morning and it would take many hours. The elevator was also broken in our ten story building. I lived at the seventh floor. One day, when my exam was finished in the afternoon, i finally arrived at the seventh flood by stairs after 40 minutes walk to my home from school in freezing cold temperatures and snow. I was tired, hungry, cold and exhausted. Happy though to finally be able to collapse on my bed in my cold and lonely apartment. Once on the seventh floor, i saw my grumpy old Romanian neighbor standing at her door staring at me. I always tried to avoid her. She scared me and never really responded when i said hello to her.
But that day was when she finally started talking to me. Here is how our conversation went:
"HEY, YOU, GIRL. COME HERE"She said with a loud voice.
I thought to myself" Oh, NO. My music must have been too loud last night and now she is angry" So i went towards her ready to apologise.
" I saw your light was on all night and i didn't smell any cooking." She said.
"I am so sorry for being disturbing you" I said thinking to myself "What a nosy person! So what if i didn't cook anything.
"Come here girl" she said grabbing my hand and took me inside her apartment. The first thing i felt was the heavenly smell of food. She had a whole table set up for me along with fancy napkins and warm soup.
"Sit down girl. Eat. You must be hungry" She said.
I was speechless. I started eating with teary eyes while being served warm delicious soup and then a big piece of pork steak along with mashed potatoes and steamed vegetable. A glass of mineral water and i finished one of the best meals i ever had in my life. Later on came some home made cookies and coffee. I ate with teary eyes and that was the beginning of one of my most beautiful friendships.
Four years later, she still called me girl and had a hard time memorizing my name. She still raised her voice when talking due to hearing problem. She still looked grumpy when not laughing. But she was one of the most beautiful people i had the pleasure of knowing.
She took care of me when i was burning with extremely high fever. She was the one person that i knocked at her door when having any problems. She let me sleep over in her apartment all night while she placed cold compresses on my forehead to reduce my fever. I used to get sick a lot back then.
So that is how this angry grumpy old Romanian woman became my friend, my family and my mom during some of the toughest years of my life. I fixed hers, her son's and her grand kids teeth in our school. I tried to help her as much as i could to repay at least a small part of her kindnesses. Years later, i cried hard when the Christmas card i sent her came back with an ugly insensitive stamp" Deceased" it said . I cried and missed her. I missed her forever grumpy face that i came to love dearly. I missed her warm cluttered home which was nothing but a small room and a very tiny kitchen smelling like cooked cabbages.Almost twenty years later, I still miss her.
Now years later, when i look back, thinking about people i have met, living in Three different continents and four different countries, all i see is lots and lots of love and kindness. Regardless of the religion, the language and the culture, kindness is everywhere and in every body's heart. I had many many bad memories of course. But the kindnesses i saw were a lot more and a lot greater than the negative.
I miss those days when we walked to school without being scared of kidnappers. I miss those days when robbers where robbers, not killers. They never had guns and they were not scary. I miss those days when kids played outside.
I am so tired of the media telling us about all the bad in the world. I am so tired of being scared of guns in the wrong hands. I miss those days when only police and army had guns and the rest of us, were just normal people.
I am tired of the media planting seeds of fear in our hearts and not acknowledging all the good that is around us. I miss the weaponless, fearless life we used to live as a kid. I regret to say that one of the first words my little kids learnt was "Bad guys". I have seen amazing kindnesses in places less expected. I deeply value the human nature.
What you think of all these? I would love to hear your opinion and hear what are your experiences with kindness and care from people least expected. I would love to read your comments. Please write for me. What have you done lately to help the kindness win and conquer the fear?