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July 18, 2010

Weekend In Review: Faith is Restored by the Kindness of Strangers

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/weekend_in_review_faith_is_restored_by_the_kindness_of_strangers_20100718/

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I had a very interesting weekend.  It was filled with laughter and tears, joy and sadness.  It was one of those weekends where you go to sleep exhausted, and wake up with gratitude that you got a new day.  Here is a recap of what my weekend looked like.

1) I wrote a blog about a reality television show, and all hell broke loose.  A group of devout fans felt I crossed a line by criticizing a show they loved.  Most people let me have it by letting me know they were angry, but a select few decided I was evil, and shared that the reason my opinion was so wrong, was because I was a Jew.  “A dirty, lying, selfish and stupid Jew.”

2) I went to services on Friday and saw my ex-boyfriend for the first time in months.  He is a man I once respected and loved.  He was there with someone I believe is a truly horrible person.  We were best friends once, and he never came over to say hello to my son or me.  He was a hero to me, and in the end he proved to be not worthy of my admiration or friendship. 

3) On Saturday morning I went on a hike up Runyon Canyon here in Los Angeles.  I go every weekend with a group of friends.  They gingerly stroll up the hill, while I huff and puff and complain my way to the top.  We started at 7 am and by 7:30 it was in the 80’s, and I wanted to call a helicopter to air lift me out.  I think my hiking days are over for the summer unless we start at 5 am.

4) On Saturday night my son went to a birthday party for a friend, and I went on a date.  He had a wonderful time with some really great kids, and I spent an hour listening to a man tell me all the great things about his ex-wife.  By ex-wife, of course I mean the woman he is currently separated from, and trying to get back.  Good thing he dates while waiting for her to return.

5) Late Saturday night my son returned from the birthday party with a friend who was sleeping over.  That is a pattern in my home.  He goes to a party, and inevitably returns with a group of boys. At midnight, I made them a pizza, baked some chocolate chip cookies, listened to the recap of the party and went to bed with a full heart and cool mom status.

6) On Sunday morning I awoke to a fresh batch of hate mail, caught 5 minutes of Hope Floats on television, enough time to break into tears at the romance of it all, made a delicious breakfast for my child, and had a great discussion about faith, anti-Semitism, my blog, his goals, dreams and fears.  I began my Sunday as I had ended my Saturday, with a full heart.

7) I believe that this weekend in Los Angeles was slightly warmer than most of Africa, so we escaped the heat by going out to lunch and seeing a movie.  We saw Cyrus and it was funny, tragic, uplifting, and overall a great film.  There is something very special about the relationship between a single mom and her son.  They showed a quirky but touching view.

8) I got home from the movies and found the loveliest emails waiting for me.  Complete strangers, some who have read my blog in the past, and some who found me by accident, took the time to write and let me know they supported me.  They took it upon themselves to apologize for those who did not think there was anything to apologize for.

It is a wonderful feeling to be shown kindness from a stranger.  It can brighten a dark day, and remind you to be grateful.  If given an opportunity, do something nice for a stranger.  It can be as simple as opening a door, waving them through at an intersection, or making eye contact and giving them a smile.  It takes very little effort, and cost nothing, to extend kindness.

I am going to make a point to be kind today, particularly to faces I do not recognize, for no other reason than it is a blessing to be kind for the sake of kindness.  To those who were unkind, I wish you peace.  To those who were kind, you gave me peace.  At the end of the day, I have my son, friends, family, and strangers, to lift me up when I am down, and remind me that everything is easier if I keep the faith.

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