I’m on the plane back from San Francisco. PGK’s second Create the Change Day in the past five weeks in the books. I’m spent. Truly, it’s been a while since I have run on such fumes. I realize, literally on the flight, that Thanksgiving is next week. I’ve done nothing. No turkey ordered. No plans made. Nothing. Some probably figure that’s no big deal. Always easy to get a turkey, right? But the fact is my daughter’s birthday comes right after that, which means I’ve done nothing for that either. Where has 2017 gone? How is 2018 almost here? And how am I headed headlong into my favorite season completely unprepared?
I’ve spent 2017 focused on trying to move PGK to the next level that I have moments like these that literally blindside me. I’ve got four kids. Every mother of four feels blindsided at times, I think. It’s unavoidable. The numbers just aren’t in our favor. But lately, I’ve found myself very reflective, and seemingly blindsided all to often. In my quest to do the right thing, am I actually doing the right thing? Am I driving hard to instill compassion in the next generation but not being as compassionate with my own kids as I should be in the midst of my busyness? With myself? (Definitely not the latter.)
I struggle to find the balance lately, but yet I can’t seem to walk away from this movement I’ve tried to start either. The world seems in such need of more compassion and hope. And as much as I am sitting here struck by my realization that the holidays are coming and I’m not ready, I was just handed another “moment” too. Next to me sits an elderly woman. Between us are a lot of years and a language barrier. She offers me her Spanish magazine, the equivalent of People. I graciously take it and see if I can read any of it. Few words here and there, sadly. Later, I look her way as she starts to eat her airplane pretzels and she offers me one because our eyes meet. And I’m struck, hard. Kindness is universal. It is the thing that needs no language, knows no age, has no boundary. We all crave it. We all thrive on it. We are struck by it when we see it, because we have no choice but to feel it too.
Heading home with guilt for being gone and exhaustion from too little sleep, I write and think, and feel my eyes well up. Kindness and compassion are too important not to devote one’s energy and time to fostering it. I even have the good fortune of having a vehicle through which to do so. So, I will land in a couple of hours, give a lot of kisses, order a turkey tomorrow, and hop on Amazon with plenty of time to still get birthday gifts (thank goodness). And I will remind myself that as my days fly by, every one of us has a chance to be the old lady next to me – to touch the hearts of those around us with thoughtful, and often simple, acts of kindness and compassion.
THAT is something to be thankful for. Bring on Thanksgiving!