Monday, June 16, 2008

The Alphabet Backwards: K is for Kindness

Oddly, I was wondering all week - what on earth can I do for the letter "K"? All I could think of was kangaroo and my first name. (It's been a rough week.) Then on Saturday when, after lightning came through and killed half of one of my big pine trees, my neighbor was by within a half hour to ask about it, I realized that kindness was a shoe-in for this week.

I'm very blessed by my neighbors here, particularly Shawn S and his mother who live in the big house across the street - the one with the yard that looks like a park. All winter long, Shawn clears everyone's snow. He doesn't ask anything in return. Says he has the blower and might as well use it. I do pay him to mow my lawn twice a month, but when he knocked on the door and asked about my tree, he didn't ask for money when he said he'd take care of it. I gave him what I could afford - not nearly enough - anyway, but this was - and still is - a HUGE job. He spent all yesterday morning and early afternoon, sawing the old tree into sections and putting the branches into piles. This afternoon, I guess, the town - which is a pretty nice little town - will bring a big truck - and (after he gets home from a full day of work) he'll move everything out to the road and load it up.

My life has been rich in kindness. So many kind friends and strangers. Finding my house was the result of the kindness of multiple people: My friend Rosalie who drove me around looking when I was close to giving up; Sue Martin who worked at New York State's HOYO office and worked very hard to help me as well as helping me keep my spirits up when things didn't look so good; and my niece Diana who helped with encouragement and a bunch of money.... so many people. I started to try and list them and the task is overwhelming.

Alas, even as I'm awash in feelings of gratitude, today I also seem to be drowning in a sea of self pity. My brain is refusing to put coherent thoughts together. It just wants to wallow in worry and self pity even though there is nothing to worry about or feel sorry for myself about. How lucky can I be. That tree could have fallen and hit my house... or the neighbor's house. It could have done a lot of damage and it did almost none. I could be without kind neighbors.

There is another piece of the past two days that I wasn't going to talk about. It's a kitty thing. I discovered yesterday that one of my girls - probably Tara Grace - has been peeing on the guest bed. I'm not sure when or why this has happened. Like the tree, it's a nuisance, not a happy thing, but not the end of the world. Yet I'm reacting to it as though it is - and by completely disconnecting from my brain and my feelings.

These kinds of events bring my inner demons dancing merrily into the light. The crazy voice in my head thinks I should be out there chopping up that tree. I should be out there carrying big logs to the front of the house in preparation for removal. I should hoist the mattress on my shoulder and drag it off to the junk yard or run to the store and find something to fix it with. Not only that, I should never have let it happen... and if I weren't a mental case, it never would have. (My inner demons think kindness is for sissies and suckers.) It is when these things come up that my agoraphobia becomes torture on a grand scale. And the monster who has locked me in my house gets to beat me up for listening to it.

So this is a pretty pathetic treatise on kindness. More a self-pity rant. I apologize for that. I am in fact very blessed with kindness from so many sources. But I'm going to leave off here and post this because there's another big storm about to come through. I may add some more pictures of Shawn's hard work once the weather passes.

And I want to thank all of you for your kindnesses. For reading my words, for kind comments, for the kindness that you all do in your individual lives and write about on your blogs. You all enrich my life and I'm very grateful for that... even when I'm feeling sorry for myself.


Akelamalu said...

I'm sad to read you are having a 'down' period but I'm sure things will look better soon for you. Don't worry about having a rant occasionally - it's what keeps us sane! What wondeful friends and family you have - you are truly rich.

Jeni said...

Hey, rant or mini-rant whenever you feel the need! No problem with that at all from me.
And, with respect to your neighbor's son and the tree cleanup -isn't it just wonderful though when folks know you need help with some things and just come and belly right up to the bar and take care of it completely or get things to a point where we can then handle it ourselves: Thank goodness for the kindness of people like that!

Dianne said...

I'm sorry the demons are screwing around with you.

I know the feeling well. One little thing and it's like I'm about to relive every bad thing that happened and make them worse as well

and of course I often feel anything but worthy - so much comes from childhood doesn't it!?

It does pass. I blame the barometric pressure LOL

my son is a lot like your neighbor - he's always making sure the neighbors, especially the odler folks, are OK.

you know where I am if you need anything :)

Raven said...

akelamalu - thanks for your kind words. Since talking to my therapist and writing this my brain has reconnected somewhat to earth. I'm not exactly jolly, but I'm much better than I was.

jeni - thanks. It really is nice to have neighbors like Shawn. The people at the top of the hill are very nice too. They originally did my snow for me. I would wake up on snowy days and it would be all shoveled - kind of like having elves.

dianne - I know you've been having a rough time yourself, so I really appreciate sympathy. And yes - childhood craziness just zooms to the surface some days and refuses to be stuffed back in. Your son takes after his mother. Good people.