Lately, I've been learning about compassion and kindness. I've always tried to be "nice." I use my manners and I'm polite. I can get along with pretty much anyone. But that's not enough in this world. Politeness is not enough to fight the hate and fear that is running rampant all around us. Kindness is not only a reaction or a response to someone or something, I believe it should be proactive. Pro ACTIVE. Meaning, seek out ways to show kindness that require some kind of giving of yourself.
Anyway, I've been learning this. Eddie has been a great teacher. I've never seen anyone deal with other people with such patience and eagerness to help like he does. He is a law enforcement officer, and while many of his past and present colleagues get into scuffles, arguments, and pull their weapon or taser, Eddie has an unbelievable track record or DE-escalating situations, simply by talking, trying to understand what the problem is, and putting himself in another's position. Even when he is forced to write citations, or escort people from the property, the offender often THANKS Eddie when the episode is over. I've never seen anything like it. But it has me believing much more in the effectiveness of compassion, over the effectiveness of pride and stubbornness.
Well, this is a true story. It happened yesterday. There was a knock on the door, which sent my dog, Joy, into a barking frenzy and my toddler and baby into fits of yelling and chaos. I finally got to the door to open it, carrying my 11-month old and holding my 2-year old's hand (both wearing only a diaper), while simultaneously holding Joy back with my leg. The woman at the door was an older, middle-eastern woman wearing a head scarf. I asked how I could help her. Her English was extremely broken, made even harder to understand by the fact Joy was STILL barking non-stop. However, what I picked up, was that she was looking for my husband. Then I remembered that twice before, Eddie told me that a middle-eastern woman at the grocery store had asked him for a ride home, which he gave her, and it turned out that we live in the same apartment complex. She had paid him with with a box of Life Cereal, and later, a tub of strawberries. I told her that I understood. She went on to explain something that was clearly very important, however, I could not make out a single word, until she said very clearly, "Your husband, he is very kind." There was nothing more I could do for her and I asked if she could come back later when Eddie came home. She said she would.
When she returned later, she and Eddie sat on the couch as Eddie patiently listened to her desperately explain something that was obviously worrying her. I heard "Russia," "My husband," "My son," "Afghanistan," "Senator." But Eddie understood much more. As I got the boys' supper ready in the other room, I noticed Eddie get the laptop. She called someone on her cell phone, then handed the phone to Eddie. There were a few more phone calls. She was worried, that much was clear. I began to feel nervous when I heard the word, "Taliban." That is a word that invokes terror in most people's heart. Should we really have anything to do with this woman? I caught myself thinking.
The woman gazed at my boys with such happiness and emotion. She watched them as they ran around, played, whined, fought, and made a mess with the fish sticks. Both boys were dressed in their matching red, white, and blue "U.S.A" outfits that I put them in because it was July 5th and I was trying to make the most out of their seasonal clothing. Eddie had given me a vase of colored roses for our 9-year anniversary. I pulled one out and gave it to my 2-year old. I whispered in his ear to go hand it to that lady. He obeyed with a smile on his face, which deepened his dimples. The woman was stunned. "Oh my gosh! Beautiful!" she whispered as she touched his cheek. When she and Eddie finished talking, she thanked us, handed us bread in a ziplock bag that she called, "Persian cooking," and walked out the door. As she turned, she wiped a tear from her cheek.
Eddie explained. She and her family are from Afghanistan. Her husband was killed by Russians in the 1970's. One of her sons made it to the U.S. and lives in Tennessee. Her other son is stuck in Afghanistan and they cannot get a response on the status of his visa. She is very worried about him because he is being threatened by the Taliban. He was one of many translators who helped the U.S. military in Afghanistan during the war, but when the U.S. left, there was no one left to protect these translators. As a result, many of them have been killed or threatened by the Taliban. Her son is one of them. She is terrified. She wanted Eddie to help her figure out how to write a letter to our Senator. She is desperate to get her son out. Eddie is not a politician, nor an immigration expert. He is a middle-class husband and father who works for the National Park Service. So why, WHY, out of all the people in Atlanta did this woman come to Eddie, basically a stranger, to help her with this very complicated, deeply personal problem?!
Because, "he is very kind."
If there is one thing for certain, Eddie will see this through. He will research and help her write her letter to the appropriate person. She will likely re-pay him with another home-baked good, or possibly some more fresh fruit. That is not necessary. He would help anyway. Because the thought of this widowed mother in a foreign land, unable to communicate effectively, all alone in this state, fearing for the life of her son (does he have dimples too?) is too much to simply brush off and say it's not our problem, or to allow irrational fear justify inaction.
For many, kindness and compassion are learned behaviors. For others, like my husband of 9 years today, they are innate. Be kind. Or learn to be kind. Both may be another person's answered prayer.
Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Thursday, December 24, 2015
Hello Strangers and Merry Christmas!
The Grimes Family has been very busy since last we met. Busy with our sweet Baby Boy, Sprout (Ricky Ray, now 22 months), and as of July 17th, with our Baby Boy, Jay Bird (Elan Jacob -- pronounced Ee-lin). Our family of 4 lives in Atlanta where Eddie is still with the National Park Service at MLK Jr. National Historical Site, and I am playing piano for The Atlanta Ballet and for another charming Ballet school nearby in Lilburn. Both Eddie and I have gone back to school. I will earn my MBA with a concentration in Entrepreneurship this February. Eddie is earning a second Bachelor's degree in Mathematics. Enough with all that boring biz. Now for the real cuteness... I will TRY not to completely overload you with pictures. I make no promises...
(The last 6 pictures were taken by my friend, Jennifer Marion, who also makes insanely adorable headbands for babies called Haley's Headbands)
I hope to catch up with you all soon, and maybe even post every now and then in between baby nap schedules! Ha! I wish everyone a very very happy Holiday season!
Saturday, March 29, 2014
Every child needs a "pet" name growing up. Mine was Squeak. My husband's was Skeeter. The thing about these kinds of nick names, is that you can't rush or force them. They just have to come easily, and then they'll stick.
Occasionally, my creative and sensitive husband (who has posted on this blog several times), will contribute to my grandmother's writer's group. She sent him a list of their weekly topics, and every now and then, if he has something to write, he will. A few weeks ago, the topic was simply, "sprout," and my husband sent the group this sweet haiku:
Sprout- how fast you grew
First snow, first thaw, each brand new
Son, look; I'll show you
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
I put Ricky on his tummy-time mat the other day and although it was fun to see his reaction to the colorful dangling objects, it was just as entertaining to watch Joy be fascinated with her new favorite creature.
At first she kept a respectful distance, showing great restraint and discipline (which is no easy feat for this excitable Sheltie).
In her eagerness, she gradually inched closer.
Always checking with me first for approval. And I gave it to her.
And closer. Almost there...just a bit more until I can finally...
Ah yes. *Contented sigh*
I love that my little family loves each other.
"Give a boy a dog and you've furnished him a playmate."
Saturday, March 1, 2014
Hi friends! It has been a while, but I promise I have a good reason. His name is Edrick. Edrick Ray Grimes, or "Ricky" as we call him, to be exact. He was born on February 7, 2014 at 9:35am and weighed 6 lb, 13 oz. And now prepare for baby picture overload. This is our little bean coming home from the hospital. His outfit was a bit loose on him.
Three things we know about Ricky so far, are:
1. He is clearly adorable, alert, and curious
2. He resembles his Papaw Daugherty
3. and he and Joy are already the best of friends.
I hope to share many more magical moments with you all and catch up on all your blogs and news, as time allows. Until then, hope you are all doing well, from the Grimes family!!!
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
One of the best things about visiting home, is spending time with not only the people that you feel most comfortable around, but at the places you feel most comfortable in. One of those places is my Grandma's house. She's lived there with my Grandpa since I was born, and I myself spent 6 years of my life calling that house, "home."
If you asked any of my siblings or cousins, they would tell you that one of the staple memories of our childhood, are the squirrels. They've been lovingly hand-fed for decades by my grandparents. I remember my Grandpa even naming some of them... Bertha and Clyde. Well, Bertha and Clyde have gone on to produce many generations since I was 4, but they all still know right where to get their daily meal. From my Grandma's own hand. When I went "home" last month, it was good to see that some things never change.
With me, this guy was kind of tentative. But when it's just my Grandma, she has to block the doorway with her body to keep them from coming inside!
Monday, June 24, 2013
A few weeks ago, I assisted my family in around the clock care for the family dog, Shadow. He had been diagnosed with canine lymphoma and was getting close to his final days. We made an effort for someone to be nearby at all times in case of an emergency.
Though Shadow was in his final stages, our family was only beginning to understand that after 11 years, inevitably we would no longer see his powerful, wagging tail when we entered the house, or hear his deep bark that a stranger would mistake for ferocious, but would soon learn it was only a friendly ‘hello.’
I began to think about these things one day as I ran the bike trail. The song “Awake My Soul” by Mumford and Sons came on my iPod. And my thoughts turned to my Sheltie of 14 years, Duchess, whose passing broke my heart 4 years ago. There is no easy way to lose a pet or any loved one and I wondered how my family would get through Shadow’s passing.
I came to a fork in the road - either go back home, or run an extra 3 miles - that day I chose to run the extra 3. When I came to the end of my path finally, I saw a woman walking her dog in the distance coming towards me. As she got closer, I squinted to make out the dog…it was a Sheltie. Of all the breeds in all the world, today I would see a Sheltie, a breed of dog you rarely see. I kneeled, and petted, and chatted, and smiled. That moment meant a great deal to me as I know it was not merely a chance encounter that day.
Everyone has experienced a great loss of some kind. But in those moments of loss and grief, we can always find something beautiful or significant within them. My Duchess waited for me to get home from work before she passed in my arms. When I learned of my Grandpa’s death, I was in church, sitting next to my best friend. These things are not accidents. They are gifts, orchestrated by the Creator of the Universe to help ease our pain. Because He feels pain when we do. And He cares so deeply for us, for our loved ones, for our pets, for the sparrow that falls to the ground. How painful life would be without His love.
Shadow Daugherty 2002-6/22/2013
"In these bodies we will live, in these bodies we will die. Where you invest your love, you invest your life."
-Mumford & Sons