It’s my pleasure to publish the first guest post in The Happiness Series by Emily Beckloff – from International Elf Service. Emily shares this touching post that highlights the power of kindness. If you are unfamiliar with Emily’s blog, do check it out. She has delicious recipes & gorgeous Christmas letters.
The Power of Kindness by Emily Beckloff
I’m not just talking about the everyday kindness of taking in someone’s parcel if it’s delivered while they’re out, but the ‘going well and above’ and the ‘bowling me over’ type of kindness. The sort you never knew you needed hoped you never needed, where people drop everything that you know is important to them, to come and help. Or the other desperately needed sort where life throws up something shocking and they quietly put time aside each day for you, for days or weeks on end and are just there for you, either in person or by email or text. They slip in and slip out of your days, always there ready to catch you when you feel you’re falling.
One thing I’ve learnt about myself is, I find it extremely difficult to ask for help or support and even more difficult to accept it! I would always rather battle on myself than bother other people to give up their precious time and put themselves out. Does this sound familiar to anyone??
I had a breast lumpectomy a few days ago, where they removed some (hopefully) low-grade DCIS (pre-cancer), which was discovered via a routine screening mammogram after a terrifying week of me thinking I’d got full blown cancer in the other breast! Stressful weeks of scans, biopsies and appointments and finally the day had come where I had to be in the hospital for 7 am. At 6 am my husband informed me he’d been really sick all night and had a raging fever. This was a disaster, not only for him but because he was meant to be taking the three kids to school and then coming to meet me at the hospital. We needed emergency childcare and we needed someone to take me home when I was discharged later that day, or the operation would be cancelled.
At the hospital, myself and another lady stood waiting for the ward to open up. She asked me if I’d got there ok, to which I said I had but that I might not make it home again! Having explained how the morning had gone so far, she reached for her phone, phoned her husband and said, ‘Hi darling, when you come and see me this evening, would you mind taking a lady home? It’s not far from here and her husband is ill and can’t get her.’ She hung up and said ‘that’s absolutely fine, my husband will take you.’ I was gobsmacked.
I had so many offers from friends to come and spend time with me and / or collect me, each telling me what they could do around their own immovable commitments with their young children. By pure chance, one friend’s husband was able to step in, enabling her to come and collect me when the operation was over. Except she not only chose to but also insisted on giving up seven hours of her day to come and be with me so I didn’t need to be on my own. She announced she was coming and that was that. I’ve had numerous emails and texts over the past weeks from people checking how I am. I’ve had invitations of coffees to distract me from waiting for potentially scary results, emergency childcare to cover appointments, offers of open-ended support and wonderful thoughtful gifts.
How can I possibly repay everyone for all of this? I’m told to stop being ridiculous and that I don’t have to do anything at all, but do you know what? I need everyone to know quite how much I’ve appreciated what they’ve done for me. Not only did they offer to help but they did it in the only way that I could accept it. They made me feel like they wanted to help and could do so very easily without any cost to themselves whatsoever. Not once did they waver or imply it might be inconvenient. They read the situation and supplied solutions in a totally gracious and easy way. I can never thank them enough for that.
Kindness is a powerful thing at any level, one of the biggest gifts you can give someone. It can help to remove fear, it can nurture, it can make someone feel loved, it can reduce stress, or make someone smile, it can take away or reduce a burden, it can give people the gift of time, it can spark friendships, …it can make lives easier and happier. Don’t underestimate how much you can affect those around you, with even the tiniest drop of kindness. A text, a call, a ‘how are you?’ can mean so much…
What an incredible gift that is and it’s one we all have the power to give.
Emily Beckloff works for Father Christmas at the International Elf Service. She’s also a registered Osteopath and a Mum to three young children, including a wonderful little boy who has Down’s Syndrome. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.
Continue the Story: Emily writes about her diagnosis on Honest Mum – A Brush With Breast Cancer.
If you would like to take part in the Happiness Series by contributing a happiness post or by answering the happiness interview questions, I’d love to have you! Find out more details on The Happiness Series Page.