We gave our 25-year-old a puppy for his birthday. In fact, I flew to Akron, Ohio, rented a car, drove to a pet supply store to pick up a crate and a harness and some puppy food, and then made my way (thank you Google Maps) to an Amish farm in the middle of absolutely nowhere, picked up said puppy and drove it back to Pittsburgh where he lived at the time.
She was the cutest puppy ever, an autumn-colored Shiba Inu. Our son named her Lady and all of us fell quickly in love with her, confident she would remain with her doggy-papa for the long haul.
But if you know anything about 25-year-olds and apartment leases and moving, you may guess what happened just one year later. He found himself having to move out of his apartment that allowed dogs and he could not find another one in his price range that did.
Suffice it to say, doggy-grandpa and doggy-grandma came to the rescue. Lady came to live with us. Our home was perfect for her as we have a large fenced-in property with a big gate so that deer do not eat our much-beloved perennial garden. She scampered around much of her days outside, enjoying the squirrels (with them not enjoying her back) and digging in our flower beds (yikes!).
One spring day, I heard her yelping (happily it seemed) and I peeked out of my window to see a figure at the gate. A woman in a postal uniform was leaning down, hand-outstretched, offering a doggy treat through the iron bars. I opened my door, thanked her and off she drove.
Believing this was a one-time occurrence, I went on my merry way, quietly noting the kindness of this woman in a white, square mail truck.
It did not stop.
On the occasions where we took Lady for a walk during our lunch hour and the mail truck was out delivering in our neighborhood, she would shriek and yank her leash so hard, pulling us until we reached her friend and received her treat.
When it was cold and rainy outside, we would find a biscuit tucked inside our bills, magazines and junk mail.
And of course, when the weather was good and Lady was outside, treats were given hand to mouth, precious time taken to be kind to our red-haired, fox-looking dog.
Time marched on and our son moved again, this time securing a lease that would allow him to have his precious Lady and off she went, finally back with her first love.
The power of kindness is unlike any other.
It’s the real deal, the healing elixir in life.
As it is sipped slowly, it feels good all the way down, refreshing the soul from the inside out. Both as the giver and as the receiver.
It is a gift that, when received freely, is often quickly given to another openly. Think of a smile. It's impossible to hoard.
Kindness connects us to ourselves and to those that come across our paths, heart-to-heart connection that reminds us that we are seen, we matter, we are not alone and there is still good to be found in the world, something I personally am desperate for.
It allows for us to make choices from our truest selves, one that acknowledges our unconditional worth and is glad and free to share.
It allows us to love well,
Ourselves or those around us,
AND it changes the world just one simple act at a time.
It doesn't matter if it's spontaneous.
Or well-planned out.
It doesn’t matter if the giver or receiver is old or young.
Black or white.
Rich or poor.
A mail person or a small red dog.
What matters is that it's good enough for the real, true us, one who is free to be completely ourselves, and to give another what is holy and beautiful and loving.
It feels so much like Jesus to me.
When our son moved, we were sad. We missed Lady more than we realized. And we often saw the mail truck go by, no figure stopping at our gate anymore.
I wanted to do something for Lady’s special friend, to return kindness for kindness.
I thought of a gift certificate, but it just didn’t feel right. Nothing else came to mind immediately. So I waited.
One day, I was doing my normal grocery shopping, and I ended up in the pet food aisle (not sure how), one I hadn’t walked down in a few weeks. There it was: a red box filled with biscuits, the same ones that had been given to Lady.
I quickly purchased it and put it in our mailbox the next day with a card.
I penned this note:
“Thanks for being so kind to Lady. I pray this box will help you to continue to share your kindness with all of her furry friends. She will miss you.”
I wanted to write this, but did not,
“And so will we.”