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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Kindness Is Cool

I interrupt our regularly scheduled Blog Me MAYbe programming for something that’s near and dear to my heart. (No, it’s not the pulmonary artery, you wise-ass.) It’s, well, I’ll let the lovely CarolinaValdez Miller*—mastermind behind this project—tell you:

Too often kindness is relegated to a random act performed only when we’re feeling good.  But an even greater kindness (to ourselves and others) occurs when we reach out even when we aren’t feeling entirely whole. It’s not easy, and no one is perfect. But we’ve decided it’s not impossible to brighten the world one smile, one kind word, one blog post at a time. To that end, a few of us writers have established The Kindness Project, starting with a series of inspirational posts.

Warning #1: I want to start off by telling you that I don’t even consider myself in the top 80 percent of kind people in the world. I’m not, you know, terrorist-level mean or anything, but I generally don’t go around pouring syrup on people’s pancakes, if you will.

Warning #2: I’m going to get all serious on you here. If that freaks you out, have fun here or here. (You might want to click those anyway.) 

Glad we got that cleared up.

I’ve mentioned this before, but nearly two years ago, I was diagnosed with EM, a rare chronic pain condition that’s changed my life. This past year, as the EM worsened, I’ve been trying to get a handle on how to meld the life I knew with this new, painful one.

Most days I’m good. But then there are those other days, the ones where my feet burn for 12 hours straight and I can’t focus and I think about doing this for another 60 years and I, well, I break down.

Sometimes, though, someone—a friend, an acquaintance, a stranger—will do the smallest thing and it’s like, bam, there’s light in the darkness.

Over the weekend I got a letter from my mom’s college friend, who’d heard about my EM. Her letter told the story of her mother, whose siblings were taken to a state sanitarium when they were diagnosed with tuberculosis. The state trapped them there for eight years—no contact with friends or family, no life outside the hospital. Her uncle spent 23 hours a day on bed rest, only seeing the outside when his nurse wheeled his bed out to the porch.

And then one day, someone found a cure. The sanitarium’s doors were unlocked and the kids were freed.

She wrote me a letter to tell me a story to show me that research is ever advancing, that I shouldn’t give up hope that EM could one day be cured. And that simple act? Writing a short letter? It made all the difference.

The reason I joined The Kindness Project is because I know how random acts of kindness can take away the sting, promote confidence, and give hope. To live a life of purposeful kindness? Imagine what that can do.

Get the code:

Posting today for The Kindness Project:

Be sure to check them out. We post the second Wednesday of every month. Want to join us? Grab our button and spread a little kindness.

*Speaking of kind, Carol is seriously the nicest, most selfless person I know. Its fitting this is her brainchild.

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