John Harper’s Random Acts of Blindness post inspired me to share a story that has kept me “sane” this holiday season as well as through this “interesting” market:
Background: My mother is a humanitarian, philanthropist, put-others-ahead-of-herself kind of woman. She is also an extremely strong-willed, independent single Mom who raised both me (5’4″) and my little (6’3″) brother all by herself. Seeing as she has been raising kids for over 32 years straight, she has always had someone to take care of. Well, I live in Colorado and my brother recently moved a state away to college. My Mom still lives in Portland, OR. She is finally an “empty nester” and with this time she now has, she has taken it upon herself to work at the downtown Salvation Army Women’s Shelter.
My Mom and I talk often and talk a lot. She is a natural story-teller and I can just sit for hours (literally) and listen to what she has been doing and all of her recent experiences. She is quite brilliant at finding a lesson in everything that happens and not overlooking even the smallest of life’s gifts.
Anyway, the other day, she is telling me about some of the women that are regulars at the shelter. Some of them are just down on their luck, others are blatant drug addicts and then there are the crazy people. Both my mom and I have a special spot in our hearts for crazy people, because, well, we feel a bit crazy ourselves from time to time, and sometimes more often than not …
One story, in particular, stuck with me and I have been thinking about it constantly:
Singing Lady often finds herself at the shelter overnight. She speaks to no one, but is always quietly singing and talking to herself. She is soft spoken and has kind eyes. She keeps to herself and avoids being in social situations, and never interacts with any of the other women at the shelter. No one talks to Singing Lady because she is too involved in a personal conversation with herself.
One day DreadLock Girl is threatening to kill Janis Joplin-looking Dancing Lady in the shower, so Dancing Lady decides to go to the other side of the shelter to take a shower in the other showers. Singing Lady follows her. My mom follows Singing Lady. As Dancing Lady enters the shower room to disrobe and shower, Singing Lady crouches down against the wall next to the door and says to Dancing Lady, “I will wait here and watch out for you, so you can have a peaceful shower.” This coming from the Singing Lady who speaks to no one.
She then starts singing and talking a little bit to herself, and then turns to my Mom (who was straightening up in that area) and says, “I know people think I’m crazy because I only sing and talk to myself. … But I’m not mean to me.”
Maybe, if people were not mean to themselves, they would not mean to others.
Maybe, if people were kind to themselves, they would be kind to others.
Maybe, if people had more faith in themselves, they would have more faith in others.
Maybe, if people went out of their way to be good to themselves, it would be easier to go out of their way to be good to others.
This holiday season … and throughout this current RE market … I am choosing not to be mean to me.