Thursday, December 27, 2012

Kindness on a Snowy Day

Toronto received a rather large snowfall overnight, coating the roads and sidewalks with a deep fluffy white blanket.  I was trying to walk home early this morning from the Y along Bay Street.  Some of the buildings were fronted with cleared sidewalks but most were not.  Two men were clearing the sidewalk in front of a new block-long condo.  I heard one man tell the other to be especially careful to clear up to the kerb for the pedestrians because some of the trucks make turns without recognizing that there is a sidewalk there under the snow.  He pointed out the truck tire marks to his colleague on the sidewalk at the corner of the street.   They both then put their shoulders to the work and cleared their sidewalks with compassion for the pedestrians who might encounter a turning truck. 

Further down the street, I observed a woman using a walker slowly trying to navigate the snowy sidewalk.  Most of the pedestrians quickly passed her except for one younger woman whom I overheard saying to the struggling woman.  "I will walk beside you until you get there just in case the snow gets worse than this". 

I appreciate all the people who take the time and energy to make life easier fo the rest of us. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Good King Wenselas

Every Christmas season, I look forward to hearing the Christmas carol, Good King Wenselas because his character inspires kindness. The other carols focus on the miracles and hopes of this season or event lost loves for my Christian friends.  But this carol teaches me what it means to live the life of a good leader, a good Christian.  When I was a student, we studied the ancient stories about kings to figure out the values at that time.  Those naratives linked the fullness of the harvest to the king's bounty in fishing or the freedom and independence of the tribe to the king's ability to fight and prevail with monsters.  When I hear Good King Wenselas, I am reminded about the power of kindness as an inspiration to a society that cares for everyone who struggles. 

I have friends who volunteer in the Out of the Cold programs, in Habitat for Humanity, at St. Francis Table and Foodshare.  For me, they are modern examples of that medieval king.  May we each find a powerful example of kindness in our lives that we can follow.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The beautiful orange 4-day hat

I visited the One of a Kind craft show last week with a neighbour.  It was so inspiring to see creative work made by so many talented crafts people from chocolates to toys, from lamps to dresses.  A warm knitted wool tam, bright orange and oversized attracted my attention.  I tried it on and my friend and I thought it looked just super.

I wore it every day thereafter even when the weather was too warm.  On Sunday, when it was too warm in the car, I took the tam off and put it on my lap along with my husband's favourite hat.  I had to jump out ot the car quickly to pick up some supplies in a local store, forgot about the hats and they were gone from the sidewalk by the time I remembered.

This story about kindness is really about my husband.  I lost his hat too but he has not complained about my carelessness once.  He commiserated with me instead about my lost orange hat and agrees it was terrific to have such a wonderful hat if only for a few days.  I am so grateful for his kindness.