The Barossa Valley, South Australia -Summer
Credit-Dragan Radocaj Photography
This beautiful photo of the Barossa Valley was sent to me out of the blue, with a supportive and appreciative message from someone I will probably never meet. Someone who took the time and trouble to go the extra distance to give something in the spirit of generosity and kindness. Such random acts of kindness are always a surprise, unexpected, welcome and received with appreciation and thankfulness.
I was amused the other day to read an article on how to raise your kids to be empathetic and to have compassion. It suggested alloting time for planned ‘random acts of kindness’, good works and generous acts towards others to be carried out in a very visible way in order to provide the giver with good feelings about themselves and their actions. While I am hugely in favour of raising kids to show empathy, have compassion and to act generously towards others, I have never believed it was a true indication of a generous spirit to advertise the deed, publicise intentions or big-note actions taken. Nor can random acts be programmed, planned or prepared for. It is in their very nature to be spontaneous, unexpected and out of the blue. That surely is the joy of them, both for the giver, who acts on the spur of the moment, thinks quickly and acts fast and for the receiver, who is blessed with a generous act, a kind thought, a few meaningful words, a gift of time or an object that is useful or helpful to them in a time of need. It is a joy to undertake a random act of kindness or to be on the receiving end, as I was yesterday.
Years ago, I lived not far from an exceptonally wonderful wool shop, which was stocked with ends of lines and with sample batches of wools which were unusual and a pleasure to knit with. The wools were cheap and I often purchased without any definite plans. Twenty years later I still had a few bags left, but had run out of enthusiasm for knitting. A friend offered to knit up a jumper I had made a small start on and after two years delivered the finished product. I had not realise she was such an expert and she has produced a professional standard, cosy garment, perfectly knitted and finished, using all the tricks only expert knitters know. In a heavenly blue, Tiffany blue, like the one pictured, this jumper will give warmth, pleasure and comfort for many years to come and was made with enjoyment, by a generous spirit, given freely and with pride in the work. I am reluctant to put it away for Winter, preferring for the time being to admire the colour, the craftpersonship and the anticipation of a cold Winter of cosiness. It sits, for the moment, in a place of honour, something to enjoy, appreciate and be thankful for.
My knitting friend is about the same age as I am and has lived a full, richly filled life, as I have, on two sides of the world. She too treasures family and has raised one of her Grandchildren from the first years, a near miss abortion and a child saved from adoption and life with a mother who didn’t want her. That child is now grown and is a young person who still suffers the loss of a mother, of not being wanted by her and in the knowledge that abortion came close, that neglect and indifference accompanied the first years. In working through some of those issues with a professional, the questions were ‘When did your hurt originate?’ – ‘At birth or prior to birth?’ and then ‘At conception or prior to conception?’ Interesting questions many of us adoptees might find useful to ask ourselves when we’re feeling strong and courageous!