A Willing Recipient of Kindness

I am an extrovert.  Anyone who knows me would never dispute this fact. My husband is an introvert. He recharges his emotional and psychological batteries with time to himself whereas I need the ears and voices of those who will listen and contribute while I process things I don’t even know I’m thinking till they’re outside my head. Most of the time we are able to find the delicate balance between our two personalities and manage to support one another according to the other’s needs even if they don’t always coincide with our own. Sometimes, however, I have to step outside of the realm of familiar faces and voices before the monotony of daily, normal interaction threatens to drive me deep into myself and I begin to shut down without even know what’s really wrong. This unhealthy threat seems to be ever-present on the edge of my emotions while I am pregnant and hopped up on hormones, tempting me to draw into myself rather than interact and release whatever is pent-up.

Today was one of those days. But rather than give in and lay on my bed, lost in a book all day pretending I wasn’t down, I got up, got out, and got better. I told Jonathan I just needed to get out of the house and I got in the car with no specific agenda or real goal other than to shake myself free of the fog I was settling into. And I realized something very crucial as I headed home a couple of hours later. I love people. Sometimes I let cynicism or impatience get the better of me and I jump too quickly to see flaws and negativity. But, in general, I am inspired even by simple interactions, unexpected displays of kindness, and windows of vulnerability that give me glimpses into someone else’s soul. I realized that, when I am sinking, I don’t always need a long drawn out conversation over coffee with a girlfriend where I try to analyze all the ins and outs of why I may be feeling the way I am. Sometimes I just need to witness humanity in its simple beauty and walk away changed by it. The smiles of the lady in the bakery who, despite the exhaustion written all over her face, has nothing by kind and helpful things to say and who wishes me luck with the baby as I buy my bread and head out the door. The ladies in the thrift store who don’t know that I’m listening from the dressing room while they recount to each other with a mixture of pride, anxiety, and deep affection stories about their teenagers on valentine’s day. Or the man at Lowe’s who, although he was about to leave early before I arrived needing help, seemed to be a bottomless pit of helpful tips and happy energy and a willingness to be of any kind of assistance – crossing the store multiple times to get something I forgot so that I wouldn’t need to leave the register and then loading my car for me in the rain – both of us laughing the whole time despite the relative unpleasantness of our days prior to this interaction. I came home smiling and cooked spaghetti for supper at my son’s request, the entire evening transformed from what the morning projected it to be. Today served as a reminder to keep my eyes open and allow myself to see, all around, the beauty that lives in people and is eagerly waiting to come out and be bestowed on willing recipients. Let me always be willing!

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