The Way I See it: Giving back lifts the spirits

Michele Blais remembers Jessica Eaman's short but meaningful life and reflects on the acts of kindness that make the world a better place.

I read an article recently while sitting in an office waiting for an appointment, about a young woman who was depressed mostly, she said, because of the end of a relationship and her business not doing as well as she had hoped.

To get her out of her self-described slump, she made a vow that for 30 days she would do an act of kindness to someone whether friend, relative or stranger. She read at a seniors’ centre, helped a friend move, cut someone’s lawn.  At the end of the month her mood had been genuinely lifted. She had connected with her community in a new way, met some new people and had developed a new idea around her business which was about community connection and health.

Our community is a large place and then it is dozens of  smaller communities and “families” within the larger force.  Last Sunday I experienced this so vividly at Jessica Eaman’s celebration of life. This beautiful young woman’s life ended suddenly and her community came out in full force to share their love of Jess and to express to her family that love.

Her family was there, and the family of her beau, Tyler, and her Sovereign Lake family, her horse lover’s community, her UBCO community, her parents’ friends and colleagues, her extended group of friends, her Silver Star community, school friends, her Armstrong and her Vernon community.  All with their Jessica stories and all reaching out to be together to bask in her light.  Jessica, in a short period of time, had built strong relationships through friendship, her drive and her acts of kindness. Relationships were important to her and so was being warm, supportive and kind.

Kindness is one of the greatest strengths someone can have.  A problem can present itself and we have options: ignore it, hope someone else takes care of it, or participate. Some people are wired for kindness and they immediately go to that place. Others not so much and may need some coaxing and others just aren’t interested, or are  going to be more guarded with their kindness.

There is an expression “he who has the most toys wins.” Wins what? Will a car keep you company and hold your hand when you are alone and afraid, laugh with you, cry with you, find adventure. The way I see it, those with love in their heart truly are the winners.

There is the story of a starfish lying on the beach. Thousands of them and they needed to be in the water but were on the sand. A man was patiently lifting them up and throwing them back in the ocean, one by one. Another man stood on the hillside watching in disbelief and in his mind, this “saviour” looked ridiculous, and so he marched down to tell him so.

“What do you think you are doing?”  “I’m saving the starfish.” “You can’t possibly make a difference, there are thousands.”

He picked up a starfish, and threw it into the water. “Made a difference to that one.”

So I say be kind, it makes a difference; and connect with your community, one person at a time. We are all better for it.

Michele Blais is a realtor in Vernon who writes every other Sunday about a variety of topical issues for The Morning Star.