When I was five I started kindergarten. I remember my first day of school, I sat at a table near the door and watched while all the other kids were dropped off and said good-bye to their parents. I watched as some cried, others just put their backpacks in the cubby and were walked to their table. It was a nonevent honestly. As far as I know I adjusted fine.
There was one thing though.
One day my class walked in a line to the lunchroom and we were all shown where to sit. My class was split up and I ended up at a table where I was the only girl and there was only one boy from my class sitting with me. I did not know the other boys and they were mean. I opened my My Little Pony lunchbox and pulled out my Ecto-Cooler juice box (Ghost Busters were all the rage in the 80’s), the boys from the other class began to call me Slimer (the ghost on the front of the juice box). I didn’t know what to do. I had never been bullied before. I was also out numbered. I did not have a friend, I knew no one. I just sat there and took it and it got worse. The taunting got louder, all the boys at the table except the one from my class were joining in and laughing. I began to cry. They laughed harder.
I will never forget the little boy from my class who was sitting next to me as all this was taking place. He looked over at me and asked if I was okay. I said no. He got a teacher. I don’t think he knew what to do either but I will never forget his kindness. He was the very first person in my short little life that showed me that kind of kindness. He could have easily joined in with the teasing in order to keep himself safe but he didn’t. At five years old he showed me empathy.
I was thinking about him the other day, even after all this time. There have been so many times in my life where something has happened that impacts me in such a way and is etched into my memory, for better or worse. It makes me think about how important it is, the way we show up for life each day, because you never know the impact you can have and how long lasting that impact can be for a person.
I remember the man, a stranger, who sat with me in the grass, in the pouring rain, on the side of road, and held my hand and comforted me while I waited for the ambulance to come after the car accident I was in 19 years ago. Almost 20 years later I remember his kindness and how safe he made me feel even in the midst of the chaos when I was covered in blood and soaking wet.
I remember the hospice worker, a social worker I am sure, who helped me and worked with me after my Nana’s passing when I was 9. She brought me apples and encouraged me to journal. She is the reason I started writing at such a young age. This blog may have never come to be without that person’s very small role in my life.
Some people are only with us during certain seasons of our lives, some are with for the long haul, some come in for a mere moment – you may never even actually know them. Someone you do not even know has the power to make you feel safe in a moment of crisis. We all have that kind of power.
Sometimes I think about the ever expanding universe and stars and galaxies I will never even see and I feel so small. But then I think of the moments in my life like those I have shared and realize our lives are not so small after all. We carry within us such power to do great things every single day when we walk out of our homes and I think that is one of the most beautiful things about life.