Tag Archive | compassion

Bringing Noise to the Silent Struggle

I haven’t posted much lately. Life has been….interesting. I’m not complaining, at least I’m trying not to, things have just been weird. Especially, lately.

You may not know this, but I am a guest contributor for my friend Nathan’s blog, NateTheWorld. Each month, Nathan sends out an email to his contributors asking for submissions and he provides writing prompts, in case any one needs inspiration. I don’t always send something in, especially if my own life is a crazy, hectic mess because finding time to do one. more. thing. just doesn’t seem possible.

But, this month one of the prompts was ‘my struggle’ and it spoke volumes to me. So I sat down and started writing. I sent my contribution over to him and he posted it. And then I started thinking about the struggle I wrote about and thought about how I was still struggling. Still dealing with it and what else could I do to lessen the burden?

So, I wrote another piece and posted it to my other blog. And really, I thought that would be it. That a few people would read either piece and maybe find comfort in my words, or at least have some light shed on a topic with which they are unfamiliar.

But that is not what happened. Not at all. What happened instead is I started receiving messages from people telling me that they were going through the same struggle. That they had a similar experience. That they, too, understood my pain and frustrations. It was……overwhelming. Amazing. Incredible.

Then, I decided that if I received such an amazing response from people I know, what could happen if people I didn’t know also heard my message? I reached out to another blogger/writer that I really like and asked him to read the piece, and if it made sense for his page, could he post it? AND HE DID! I couldn’t believe it; this person who doesn’t even know me, felt like what I wrote should be shared.

Of course, comments came in, and they didn’t all go my way, but that’s alright. Because at the end of the day, I know that thousands of people have read what I wrote, and perhaps they learned something they didn’t know beforehand.

Some of the comments said I was perhaps being a little too emotional or oversensitive to the topic at hand. Maybe. But that doesn’t make me wrong. Or make my point/opinion invalid.

Facebook2 Facebook3For the record, I DID donate those samples to my church. And I gave the coupons that I kept receiving to the Early Ed. center so they could go to parents who WANT them.

I'm not sure that expressing my opinion makes me selfish, but she's entitled to think that.

I’m not sure that expressing my opinion makes me selfish, but she’s entitled to think that.

I’m not sure that it’s the worst article ever, but again, she is entitled to think that.

Facebook6I’d also like to point out that I didn’t say anything about malice from the companies; I pointed out the short-sightedness of the campaigns. I also didn’t call for a boycott, just stated that I won’t be giving my money to them. As for questioning my struggle with infertility, that I took a little personally. She says that a year of not conceiving doesn’t count as infertile. Actually, it does. According to the Mayo Clinic’s website: “Infertility is defined as not being able to get pregnant despite having frequent, unprotected sex for at least a year for most people and six months in certain circumstances.”

My husband and I have been trying to start a family FOR A YEAR! That doesn’t seem like a long time, unless it’s something you really want and it doesn’t happen, over and over and over again.

Facebook7This woman commented several times, apparently I struck a nerve with her. Especially since she called my post a rant (it wasn’t). But, I am a long time reader because I haven’t ALWAYS been in this struggle, and because the guy is a good writer and the “hilarities of parenthood” crack me up. But, perhaps I’m not allowed to laugh at parenthood since I’m not part of the club? Who knows.

Not all of the comments were negative, though. Some of them were really nice and were from people who had experienced similar things or understood what my whole point was (that the program’s targeting is wrong because they don’t know who the person on the other end of the data they purchased really is. Being a woman that shops at Babies R Us doesn’t make me anymore a mother than eating a banana makes me a monkey).

Facebook5And some of the comments were just really nice and proved to me that what I had to say was at least heard AND UNDERSTOOD by some people – which is really my ultimate goal. To be understood. Isn’t that everyone’s goal?

Facebook1 Facebook8I did contact the companies that send those formula samples; I sent them my article. And one of them responded letting me know they removed me from their mailing list. Which I appreciate. But that’s not my point. They need to reevaluate the whole thing. I understand the purpose of the campaign. They want to sell a product. But, there might be a better way to target the correct people; I don’t have the answer to HOW to do that, but I’m sure they have really smart people working for them that can come up with the answer.

I let them know that I appreciated being removed, but that if this is happening to me, then it is happening to other women. And that’s the problem. They said they’ve given the information “to the appropriate department” so who knows if anything actually comes out of it. I really hope it does.

So, that’s the biggest thing that’s been going on in my life lately. Just bringing awareness to a silent struggle. One blog post at a time.

Kindness can change the world…

I don’t often post about my fiancee aside from the annual mention in the my end of year wrap up. I always say how thankful I am to have him in my life, and always mention how my favorite part of every year is the fact that we have spent another year together. But every now and then I just feel like I need to give everyone a glimpse at some of the reasons I love the man I am going to marry.

I love him for many reasons, not the least of which is that he is the most patient person I know. I mean truly he has the patience of Job. I know that I am a pain in the ass, frustrating beyond words, impatient as can be, and have the quick temper o’ the Irish. But he handles it all like a champ; even when I am being completely insane and irrational. He just waits out the crazy. Because he is a saint.

One of the other biggest reasons is that he is kind hearted and compassionate.

Last week the Kansas City area received an unusually-late-for-the-season snow storm which dumped over a foot of snow in the area. Shoveling snow is not super fun so by the time the weekend rolled around we (read Brett) had only cleared out a small area on one side of the garage to get the truck in and out. But, when the snow plows came through they left a bank of snow at the end of the driveway blocking our way out. 

Typically, we (read Brett) would just gun it out of the garage and plow the truck through the bank, but on Saturday when we were getting ready to leave, Brett saw a man walking up our driveway. He got out of the truck and met him to see what was up.

The man told Brett that he was trying to make some money to help him get his family through to the next week and wanted to know if we would hire him to shovel our driveway. He said he didn’t need much. 

Brett asked if I had any cash on me, something neither of us regularly carry on us. I did have some cash and gave him what I had. Brett explained that we didn’t have the full amount of cash to help him out completely, but could we pay him what we did have on us to shovel out the snow bank at the end of the driveway.

The man said that he would do that, and then asked if we had a shovel he could borrow. Brett pulled one of the snow shovels we have out of the garage and handed it to him. As the man started to shovel and Brett started back to the truck, I heard him say to the man, ‘You know what, keep that shovel. I hope it helps you earn some more money today.’

My heart exploded with love at the kindness and compassion in Brett’s heart.

When he got back to the truck he sat in the driver’s seat and we sat there for a moment while he was shoveling the snow. I looked out the window and noticed that this poor man who was obviously down on his luck, asking to shovel our driveway and not even having a shovel, was not even wearing gloves. It was 30 degrees outside. And he was shoveling snow. I pointed this out to Brett who immediately went down to the basement and found a new pair of work gloves that he wasn’t using. He came back outside and gave the man the gloves as well.

I couldn’t see the entire exchange but I have the feeling that this man was very grateful for the kindness that was shown to him.

I cannot imagine the circumstances in this man’s life that led him to having to ask to borrow snow shovels to shovel people’s driveways, but I pray that he was able to earn the money he needed to take care of his family. I am thankful everyday that I have the life I do. That I have a nice home. Heat for the winter. Air conditioning for the summer. Food in the pantry and in the refrigerator. Reliable vehicles to take us to all of the extra things we like to do.

For I am well aware that to many our life seems extravagant. That there are too many people without a home. Warmth. Food.

I am proud of Brett everyday, but Saturday I was more proud than I thought my heart could handle. He could have so easily told this man that we did not have any cash on us and left it at that. But instead, he thought about what he could do rather than what he couldn’t. In the grand scheme of things, what is a few dollars, a shovel (that we weren’t using anyway) and a pair of gloves? To us – not much. But to this man, it very well could have been the difference between dinner for his family or not. Or money to pay the heating bill. Or gas to get a sick kid to the doctor. Or any other number of things.

A little bit of kindness goes a long way and I hope that man was able to make the rest of the money he needed. Even more though, I hope once he is doing better that he pays it forward and continues the kindness.

Knowing the kind of man I am going to marry makes me so proud to become his wife.

I know I say this often, but I truly believe it, kindness can change the world. I hope the man’s world was changed; I know my world was changed by it.