Dashes and Kindness, or – An Ode to Mr. B
Recently, a friend of my husband’s passed away. It was one of those sudden events. Even though he was older (elderly by some standards) he was relatively healthy and it was unexpected. This was a man that was very dear to my husband. His resemblance to his Pawpaw (passed on) was uncanny. So, my husband lovingly called him “Pawpaw”. He was hospitalized for a few days after his heart attack, but with struggling contemplation, the family decided to let him go. They let him go with sadness, but, with no regrets! As Mr. B was a man that lived life!
My husband was asked to conduct the funeral for Mr. B long before he had passed (years ago). When the ending of this life arrived, he began piecing together stories and events from Mr. B’s life. WHAT a LIFE. Have you read the poem about the “Dash”. If you haven’t the synopsis goes like this. You are born on a day, and your life ends on a day. On a tombstone there is a dash that separates the two, and it is in how you LIVE the dash that is important.
Over the course of the days of hospitalization and preparation for the funeral, Stan shared with me stories of Mr. B. I knew of some, as he had been a part of our life for a while. But he also shared stories as related by others. Remember the “Dash”? Well, after hearing the stories I came to the conclusion. “Mr. B’s tombstone may have a dash on it, but he LIVED his dash with Exclamations, Stars, Fireworks, and Highlighters!”
He was actively involved in various volunteer programs. And if there was not a program, and he saw a need – he would start one! One of his programs was appreciation to the law enforcement. Another was training other volunteers how to “be a volunteer” (giving instead of getting).
One of his volunteer training sessions involved giving each of the volunteers a little blue ribbon. They then had the instructions to do a kind deed for someone, give them the ribbon, and then instruct them to pass on a “kind deed and the ribbon”. One of his volunteers related that she had her ribbon and finally towards the end of the day found a way to implement it. She rushed through the drive through line of a fast food and payed for the meal for the car behind her. The blue ribbon was passed to the clerk, with instructions to inform the car, and explain what they were to do with the blue ribbon. She then checked back in with Mr. B. to proudly inform him of her accomplishment. With wisdom and a smile on his face, he opened his drawer and told her “good, now do it again.”
You see, with the wisdom of ages, he knew that even though doing one kind deed was good. It was only that – one. The true lesson is learned by being aware. Doing a kindness over and over. Being kind and showing gratefulness takes time to make a change. Yes, the person who receives the kindness reaps the benefits immediately. The person – YOU- doing the kindness reaps an immediate benefit. But the TRUE harvest comes later as you instill Kindness into your heart – and the actions come naturally without a “little blue ribbon” as a reminder.
So, I challenge you – I challenge myself. Make a difference even if it is for one day! Get your children and your family involved. Let’s make this holiday even better by reaching out and making a difference in the lives of others!