It’s a New Year and time for people to make resolutions to better themselves, which is a good thing. Generally, I do not make resolutions because I don’t like to be told what to do and end up rebelling and not following through. Yet, each year is still a fresh start, a chance to become a better “you” so I like to make small changes in my life that I am ready for and committed to, in order to achieve modest but meaningful goals.
This year, along with committing to walking, a run and a Pure Barre class once a week, I am going to consciously, thoughtfully perform random acts of kindness. Oscar Wilde said, “The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” I am going to try to offer more kindness because I know that when I receive an email with a kind note, it brightens my day. It does not take much time to make a difference, just some conscious effort.
SVdP’s supporters share kindness on a daily basis and it is something to behold. Not only am I inspired by their service to neighbors in need, but their actions make it easier to see how we are brothers and sisters in humanity. One act of great kindness by a colleague helped transform a woman’s life and illustrates our connectedness.
“Maureen” lived on the streets of San Mateo. With her dog Gazpar, a constant companion, she came to SVdP for meals, clothing, a sleeping bag, blankets, mail and other support. Her furry friend most likely kept her alive with his warmth on many a cold, damp night in the doorway which was her bunk. SVdP sought a housing solution for Maureen, but she would not give up her best friend. At one point Maureen’s physical health deteriorated so much that although it was difficult, SVdP had to deny services briefly so that Maureen could be admitted to the hospital for evaluation, healthcare and eventually, safe and secure housing. Maureen was disappointed that she could not take Gazpar with her so a SVdP staff member offered to take Gazpar in and care for him, which eased Maureen’s anxiety about her dog’s welfare.
With this help and great act of kindness, Maureen had the opportunity to transform her life. She is now living independently and Gazpar visits regularly – a miracle and a blessing. However, the story does not end there. One of SVdP’s past Presidents and current Board member was volunteering at SVdP’s Homeless Help Center when he recognized her name. Maureen had stopped by for services, including picking up her mail. He realized that they had grown up together in San Francisco and attended the same school. He remembered her being a beautiful girl who was very nice and popular. It was hard for him to comprehend that she would have ever lived on the streets.
Deeply moved by her story, our Board member declared how he could truly see that those we serve are all brothers and sisters in Christ. A young lady I know says that kindness is sunshine with words. So, let’s all spread sunshine through more intent kindness on a daily basis – I resolve to and it won’t be difficult to achieve because, “Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.” (Seneca, Roman philosopher)