As I have mentioned in a previous post, cancer seems to bring nice people out of the woodwork, and they want to do things for ME. For instance, take a look at the wonderfully expressive new heading for this blog. Jenny Lawrence Viars, who sings alto in the church choir with me, noted the barren and forlorn nature of my page and offered to come up with a design for me. Jenny is someone I know from church, but we really do not KNOW one another, and I wonder...had I not had cancer....would she have felt she could offer to help me with the blog design. (Maybe it looked so pitiful that she would have offered anyway, but I doubt it.) I have been experiencing so many acts of kindness, large and small, that I have started thinking about the dynamics of giving and receiving.
Unquestionably, some kind of vulnerability makes one more approachable. I am thinking of how a dog will roll on its back to show that it is NOT the boss. As humans we don't have a good way of showing our willingness to accept a "belly rub," so an illness or a family catastrophe is the most frequent way we get to experience this flow of generosity. Also, it is clear that being generous, helpful, loving, kind, or attentive brings a lot of pleasure and satisfaction to the giver as well as to the receiver. Practicing random acts of kindness will certainly boost ones spirit, and maybe even release some of those endorphins we all covet. Being on the receiving end brings a feeling of being wrapped in a warm blanket or being lifted on a rolling wave.
The most delightful part of receiving for me has been getting to know more about the people who have blessed me with attention. Of course, I now know that Jenny is a whiz at the computer and is a regular blogger herself. I discovered that another friend knows quite a bit about foods, supplements, and healthy living, and she sent me a magnificent book on the subject. Another is a wonderful rose gardener, but I learned more about how and why he began the hobby. One of my cousins, who was "into" alternative medicine long before it became more mainstream, keeps me supplied with information and good reference material, and we have made a connection beyond our common ancestor. The list goes on and on, and the delight for me is that through these acts of kindness I am able to know these people more deeply and completely.
These thoughts are neither earthshaking nor original, but I am glad to have a chance to write them down and appreciate anew the gift that one human being can be for another.