“Seniors spar after roadside spat” (A Lesson in Kindness)

DenaJuly 20, 2011

evolutionyou.net | kindness

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. —Dalai Lama

On July 14th I had a doctor’s appointment. On my way home from that appointment, my sister called me. I was driving and let it go to voicemail. A few minutes later I pulled over to listen. “Call me right away, it’s an emergency.” When I called her back she told me that my grandfather had been hit by a car and airlifted to a trauma center.

Worse still, she said, it was not an accident. He was run over after a road rage incident.

I was horrified. I didn’t know if my grandfather was going to be alright. Still, there was something humorous about all of this. Like it had to be some mistake. There’s no way. How could an 83-year-old man get into a road rage fight and get run over by a car? Heaven forgive me for this… half of me wanted to cry, but half of me wanted to laugh. Later when I saw the news article online, I couldn’t help but laugh—“Seniors spar after roadside spat.” Really? Really!?

Of course, by that time I’d already been in touch with family and found out that his vitals were quite alright. He was going to be fine though he was badly injured—compression fractures in his spine, broken bones in his arms, and a major concussion. I was just grateful that he was going to make it.

evolutionyou.net | seahorse

The religion space on my Facebook page has been filled with the word Kindness for a few years now. I’ve made mistakes in the past. I wasn’t always kind. I make mistakes still. But I try to lead my life with this guiding principle. I try to make kindness the still point which the rest of my life revolves around.

One of my favourite poems is “Dogfish” by Mary Oliver. The best part is this:

You don’t want to hear the story
of my life, and anyway
I don’t want to tell it, I want to listen

to the enormous waterfalls of the sun.

And anyway it’s the same old story – – –
a few people just trying,
one way or another,
to survive.

Mostly, I want to be kind.

Mostly, I want to be kind. Yes. Precisely.

evolutionyou.net | seahorse

Driving is a stressful endeavour. This I know for certain. Sometimes I catch myself slipping into a blind rage behind the wheel. Vile things come out of my mouth, things that I shutter to think of. I’m working on it. I’ve been working on it. I slow down. I practice awareness. It works.

This incident with my grandfather breaks my heart. There’s a few things that the news article doesn’t mention. My grandfather was on his way home from church. There was a physical altercation of the non-vehicular sort. I suppose that the details don’t matter much. It’s—all of it—so painfully unnecessary. What good is it?

It’s been six months since we lost my grandmother. I think I handled it pretty well. I was strong and full of love. I read during her eulogy and held it together. I only lost it one time throughout the whole ordeal. During mass there is a peace offering. The priest invites the congregation to share the sign of peace among each other. Everyone turns to the person near them to shake hands or kiss one another on the cheek. During the peace offering at my grandmother’s funeral mass, my grandfather reached out to her casket and touched it. He’d been kissing her during mass for sixty years.

evolutionyou.net | seahorse

I know it’s a little bit disjointed (I know it’s also a little bit funny) but I’m sharing this story because I want it to serve as a reminder to myself, to you, to the world at large. Be kind. Be kind always. Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

Comments (10)

  • Meg

    July 20, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    I have learned in my life, that it’s too short to waste on being men or hurtful to people. It takes so much less energy to be nice to people around you. I always try and practice kindness. Sometimes it’s hard, you feel like you are getting walked all over becasue you are too nice. But I would rather be too nice then not nice at all. Thanks for sharing your story. I am sorry about the loss of your grandma, but I am happy to hear your grandfather is ok.

    1. Dena

      July 20, 2011 at 1:03 pm

      Thanks, Meg. <3 I've been writing this post "in my head" for a week now. (As a blogger, I'm sure you know what I mean.) It's so hard to explain these things that are so important -- like kindness & the preciousness of life. But I think it's just incredibly important that was say it, however it comes out.

      I am so grateful to know that there are people like you in the world.

  • Matt

    July 20, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Love will always trump evil. My goal is to always pay back hate with kindness. It will have a greater impact in the end. Hatred divides, destroys, and dehumanizes people. Love brings community, life, and abundant life to people.

    1. Dena

      July 30, 2011 at 1:34 pm

      “Love will always trump evil.” What a beautiful sentiment, Matt. You have an enormous heart & I am so grateful that we found each other in the big interwebs of the internet. You are wonderful! 🙂

  • Lou Mello

    July 20, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    First, very sorry to hear about your Grandfather, definitely a sad situation. I see road rage of sorts nearly every day in what is supposed to be the most polite city in the U.S., Charleston SC.

    Technically, I guess the road rage is not in the city, but, mostly on the outerbelt around the East, North and West of the city. People drive like maniacs to and from work, drive 85 in a 60 zone and tail gate like they were at Daytona. I go a couple of miles over the speed limit, try to stay out of the left lane and just shake my head at the idiots.

    Sorry to go off on a tangent, it’s just that road rage seems to be an epidemic these days, and it’s just senseless.

    The simple rule for me is to follow the Golden Rule, it covers every situation and lets you be kind when others are not and that will give you peace.

    1. Dena

      July 30, 2011 at 1:35 pm

      You are so right, Lou. It is an epidemic. It’s a terrible thing and the only way to fight back is to spread awareness and as you always say — to follow the Golden Rule. We have to keep pressing on.

  • James Moffitt

    July 21, 2011 at 8:38 am

    Thank you for this reminder. To be kind to everyone I meet. No one knows what burdens another person cares. No one knows how hard life has been or is going to be to anyone of us. We must purpose in our hearts to treat one another with love, dignity and kindness. We wont be successful at each turn and there may be people in our lives that wont receive that act of kindness. For those people, all we can do is try. If they reject it then it is on them, and not us.

    1. Dena

      July 30, 2011 at 1:36 pm

      Thank you, James! Absolutely… we will not be successful every time but the critical thing is that we try, and keep trying. I am so grateful to know that there are people like you out there!! <3

  • andra watkins

    July 21, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    One of the biggest things I think we forget in situations like this one: everyone is coming from somewhere, and we don’t always know where or understand all that goes into it. Lots of people have random bad days. I hope this post will follow me and help me be more understanding. Thank you for writing it, Dena. xo

    1. Dena

      July 30, 2011 at 1:37 pm

      That is exactly what I wish for, too, that this message follows me & helps me to be more understanding. That is all we can ask for. <3

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