Column: Looking for kindness in all the right places

A while ago a follower reached out to suggest a column idea.

This happens occasionally and 99 per cent of the time it’s a total bust.

Planting the seed of a column in someone else is a bit like expecting another person to have your baby.

It’s just weird and it comes out not looking like you at all.

Years ago in Ontario, a good friend did just that.

After having four children with her husband she chose to be a surrogate for her cousin, who was unable to become pregnant.

Think about that sacrifice for a minute.

Of all the things I would lend a friend, my uterus is bottom of the list.

(According to my donor card it’s free for the taking at some point, although not sure uterine transplants are a thing and in any case with four kids of my own even describing this organ as “in good used condition” would be stretching it.)

Giving the gift of life has got to be one of the most selfless and generous acts imaginable.

And that is a convenient segue back to the original point about the reader and her column idea, because she wanted to see something in the paper about kindness.

She expressed concerned about what she perceived to be a growing level of negativity and complaining in our community and felt it would be refreshing to talk about the good and often unseen gestures happening around us every day.

In all likelihood this thoughtful person was suffering from TMSM (Too Much Social Media). On any given hour in Princeton BC you can hop on Facebook and roll around in the mud on the local issues pages.

Nonetheless the word “kindness” went up on the whiteboard in the office as a possible topic for a column.

And then nothing happened for several weeks.

Zero fertilization.

Another great woman in my life, a former teacher and current priest with the Anglican Church of Canada, once remarked that writing a newspaper column had to be a lot like writing a sermon.

She told me that when she has difficulty putting together a homily she takes whatever Gospel verse is on the calendar and just lives with it – meditates on it, keeps it front of mind as she goes through her routine.

So that is what I did with kindness.

Kindness. Breathe in. Kindness. Breathe out. Kindness. Kindness. Kindness.

And something pretty amazing happened.

A man brought carrots into the office.

They were extras from the farm, fresh and organic, and we all shared them. Mine went home and into the soup pot.

Later that same day a woman who volunteers at the hospital thrift store chased me down in the parking lot and pressed a jar of homemade apple sauce into my hands. She said she had so many apples this year, she wanted to make extras and give them to people she appreciates.

That afternoon an email came in, a nice compliment about the paper. (Compliments about the paper aren’t quite as good as food, in as much as you can’t eat them, but they are very nourishing for the spirit.)

There are about four dozen Spotlight subscribers who pick up their papers in our office, rather than have them delivered in the mail. Two dears that drop by each week are well into their senior years but they are newlyweds – they just celebrated their first anniversary – and so in love and so affectionate.

On a day when one isn’t meditating about kindness lovebirds can be downright nauseating.

But when kindness is the mantra, you have only appreciation. They don’t leave the office without giving everyone here a hug. He’s 83 and hugs like a bear. Sometimes he even straightens my spine.

They do it, they say, because people don’t get enough hugs.

Maybe people don’t get enough kindness, either. Or maybe they just need to look for it harder.

On reflection – from the carrots to the free chiropractic care – it was a pretty normal day.

Not sure it looks like me – but that’s the sermon for this week.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Column: One parenting book certainly doesn’t fit all

Like the fingerprints they are born with – each child is different.… Continue reading

Ryga Arts Festival to include virtual and in-person events

Arts festival in Summerland will run from Aug. 15 to 23

Okanagan and Shuswap MPs want federal funds to help stop invasive species

Concerns raised that spending favours Eastern Canada.

Summerland Ornamental Gardens remain closed

Staff and volunteers continue to weed and maintain plants

Canada’s deficit result of investing in Canadians: Minister of Middle-Class Prosperity

Minister Mona Fortier said the government is working on the next steps as the economy restarts

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

COVID-19: Homeless to be relocated from temporary Okanagan shelter

Homeless shelters in Vernon have been combined into one site at the curling rink since April

Dozens of fish die at popular lake near Chase

A few natural phenomena are possible causes for their deaths.

BREAKING: Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

Most Read