Kind gestures are a symbol of love. I think that so much of the time we forget that our actions affect others. We can go through the day to day interactions and not even realize that we can be a reflection of loving people, or we can be mirrored as people who could care less about anything or anyone. But in the end, I think that most of us are touched when someone does something that shows kindness and empathy. Such is the case when someone surprises you with a meal, a drink, a card, or does something to make your life easier. It’s those little things that love is a part of. For a long time, I didn’t recognize what those gestures symbolized. Now things are much clearer.
Most of us that have pets can come home to the unconditional love that our pets provide. For those who have children, they are ecstatic when we come home because we are their haven from a cruel world. Every day is a test. Pain is used to make us who we are. It’s often easier to close off who we are so that we don’t feel the pain of emotions. We don’t want to feel anything because that means we have to remember the feeling of mattering to someone. We have demons that we fight every day. Some may fight addiction, others fight diseases, sometimes they fight both. But the feeling of appreciation can wake up the inner emotions that we all feel at various times in our lives.
Let me tell you all about some of the people in my life and the lives of my friends that remind me of how love remembers. When I was a kid, my nickname was “Tommy”. It was given to me by a woman who was blind and whose sister was deaf. They called me that because I was such a tomboy. I’d go fishing every chance I got. I wasn’t afraid to live because I could explore everything and not be afraid. I’m not sure when the fear factor kicked in but it wasn’t long after the death of these two very special women. They always made me feel that I could do anything in this world. It would be years later that a special memory would come back into play that I recognized the true value of unconditional love. I was in a store with recently and I swear to you I could hear one of them say “Tommy”. I turned around and there was a book that reminded me of the teachings that they shared with me. In an instant, I knew that I was being reminded of a simpler time where the only thing that mattered was the human connection.
My friend Darla is going through her mode right now. She had a childhood friend that was recently killed in a motorcycle accident. They had known each other since they were five. Everything about this man showed the kind of heart and soul that he had. He believed in God. He loved his friends and family unconditionally. He was the kind of man that most people hope that they can emulate. His strength and character conveyed warmth and exuberance. His life touched so many people that his legacy will not only live on through his friends and family but also in his musical memories. The man had skills that many envied and yet he wasn’t the type of person that allowed his enemies to dictate how he would be. He showed love to all that he met and if someone didn’t like him, that was on them. I never had the pleasure of meeting Brian but from what I’ve heard, his legacy is one of love. His strength and faith made sure that others could embrace one another with kindness rather than with jealousy.
I can’t begin to tell you how many people I’ve loved and lost over the years. I have two friends named Alex that died over a decade apart from each other. The first Alex was in a band with me. The boy had a voice like you wouldn’t believe. He had the dirty blonde curly locks that many women would have swooned over and to be fair, had we not been so close, I would have dated him in a heartbeat had he not been involved with a friend of mine first. That was a cardinal no-no in my circle of friends. Eventually, I dated one of his best friends for four years. Big mistake on my part but that’s another story for another day. Anyway, Alex let me drive his truck to take friends of ours to work. I knew how to drive a stick shift and I knew I was in good with Alex because he didn’t let anyone drive his truck unless he trusted you completely. He loved the fact that I was a country girl and wasn’t afraid of a manual transmission. I remember thinking to myself that Alex would make someone very happy one day. I just hate that he was killed in a car accident years later. He had gotten engaged to a very special woman but he was never able to have the family he craved. Before he died, I saw him about three years before the accident. My last conversation with him is one that I’ll take with me to the grave. He told me that just because people aren’t physically with us, it doesn’t mean we don’t carry them and what they meant to us. It just means that we can’t have the same types of discussions but the impact they make on us, can help shape us into the kind of person that we were always meant to be. He also told me to never give my music up. Sorry Alex, but I let it lapse for a very long time. I suppose that’s one of the reasons I still see him in my dreams and talk to him about the kinds of lyrics and music that he dreamed of creating. The hardest part for me is sitting still long enough to write what I hear through his memories. The other Alex taught me something special too. He taught me that listening to others is the greatest gift we can give one another. Being present in their lives is another milestone that we often take for granted and he wanted me to remember to not let anything keep me from writing. He said that every word that is typed or written is a word closer to portals of the heart. He had such a strong connection with God. He’d often say that the devil picked the wrong person to attack because he wasn’t going to give the devil the satisfaction of overtaking him. These men showed me the power of unconditional love and that love does remember even when we forget their impact until later times in our lives.
I have other friends who are dealing with their battles right now. My friend Shari is learning that she is stronger than she ever thought possible. She’s regaining her sense of self. She’s seeing that in loving herself enough to see who she is can bring about an awareness of who she aspires to be. She’s learning her self-worth. She was involved with a man for years that needs to go to some type of etiquette school in learning how to deal with women because the man thinks he’s a player but he’s about to be schooled in the art of playing. People talk when they have been mistreated. Reputations get ruined by word of mouth and when you treat people like garbage then that’s all you get in return. If you find that you are with a person who is manipulative, controlling, arrogant, and unethical, chances are you aren’t being shown a strong sense of love in manner.
I remember being a student at Guilford College and losing $80 in cash. That was money that I needed to pay a bill with and I had no clue where I would get the money to pay off what I owed. I don’t even remember which bill it was for but I managed to sell a couple of things and got just enough to pay my bill. When I went to the office to pay, I was told that my bill had been caught up and paid in advance for two months. I’ll never know who paid it, but their kind gesture showed that there was someone who was looking out for me. Their compassion and kindness touched me in a way that was a rarity for me. That gesture made me feel special. It’s ironic how the simplest gestures can mean the world. There have been other gestures from strangers that make me wonder if there are angels on earth. I have had some rough days only for someone to do random things like handing me a flower out of the blue, or helping me when my car was broken down, or even listening when I was rambling to myself. No matter what crisis I was facing at the time, there have been numerous occasions where the slightest gesture has shown that there is still a lot of love and goodness left in this world. Some people preach about God and talk about him, but their actions don’t mesh with what words pour out of their mouths. The ones who are showing God’s works through their actions with others are the ones that restore my faith that love transcends color, sexuality, gender, age, and any other description that can fall under the discriminatory decrees.
Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m open to many different viewpoints. I believe some things are unexplainable on this earth. I also believe that we are intertwined with each other even if we don’t like one another. There’s a reason that we all have various interactions in our lives and even more reasons that we make lasting impressions on one another. If we were all the same, then we wouldn’t need to disagree with each other in almost every facet of our lives. We are all tremendously blessed. Sometimes it’s easier to see how and why than others, but one thing remains true. As long as we’re all on earth, we have a responsibility for each other to be the guiding hand at times. We may do things without knowing why. Our gut may tell us that someone needs our help, and we’re the only ones that individuals will allow. You never know. I’ve been in that situation before where someone I knew and didn’t know needed my help, and I felt compelled to help without understanding why. It’s not a bad thing to put yourself out there. Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it’s not always easy. But love never forgets love. Hate becomes easy because it allows the bitterness to overtake you. Loving others unconditionally only gets hard. My hope for each of you is that you find the little things in life that mean the most. Treasure every day and absorb as much positive energy that you can. We all need that boost that tells us that we aren’t alone. Accept the little things that others do for you and recognize how monumental they are. There may come a day where the clouds surround you so much that you can’t see the clearing. Life does eventually allow for clear days. It’s just sometimes we all see the stormy weather before we are kissed with the rays of love.