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Monday, February 1, 2010

The Power of Kindness

Thank you everyone who left comments on the blog and facebook wishing us a good week after I unloaded all my angst and frustration on to last night's entry. It really does mean a lot to know there are so many people in our corner, wishing us the best and praying for healing. Kind words can go a long way.
That brings me to an organization that I absolutely love. It's called The Ben's Bells Project. It's an organization named after a little boy named Ben who passed away in his mother's arms. She was so grief stricken and was in so much pain that the kindest gestures were so big to her. And nobody even knew how much it meant to her to hear kind words at that time. So to pass that along, and to help ease her grief, she started making bells. These bells were made up of ordinary clay pieces painted with ordinary paints, but put together, they became extraordinary.
People would get together to paint these bells and then they were distributed around our town, but never sold. The idea was that when a person finds a bell, maybe hanging from a tree in a park or at a bus stop, they are aloud to keep the bell forever. The message on the bell reads:
You have found a Ben's Bell. Take it home, hang it in your yard, and remember to spread kindness throughout our world.

"Remember there's no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end." - Scott Adams

This is the letter I wrote to Ben's Bells recently...

I was introduced to Ben's Bells when I was attending the University of Arizona. I was part of a group that organized a Ben's Bells night and you came to our building and we painted pieces of clay that would soon become bells. The story of little Ben stuck with me as I have a son, too. The experience I had that night also stuck with me. It was calming and cathartic and something so positive, it made an impact on me and I never forgot it. I mostly remember the story behind Ben's Bells and how you told about how overcome with grief you were after loosing Ben and nobody knew it. That's why little acts of kindness were so important to you at the time. I would soon fully understand what this meant.
About four years later, after the birth of my second son, Christian, I accompanied my husband to the park so he could play basketball. I didn't want to go because it was an early Saturday morning but he convinced me to go. We walked to the El Rio basketball court. As I walked with him, I glanced to my left and what did I see? A Ben's Bell!!! I was so excited! I ran over to it, but for a second I felt bad for taking it and thought maybe I should leave it for someone else. My husband laughed and told me to take it because I FOUND it and that was the point. So I reluctantly took it and hung it in my living room.
In July of 2009 my second son Christian crawled out the doggy door and nearly drowned in our back yard pool. He didn't respond to my attempts at CPR but was finally brought back to life on the last attempt in the emergency room. That first week in the PICU, I truly experienced what you explained when you lost Ben. I was so overcome by grief and sadness. I would go to the store and think - nobody knows how sad I am right now. Nobody knew the pain I was feeling. And anytime someone would display the smallest act of kindness like opening a door or smiling at me, it meant so much more than they ever knew.
Christian is doing well now. He has an anoxic brain injury due to the lack of oxygen to his brain. He has to relearn everything and he has a long journey ahead of him. We have so much faith and spreading kindness means so much more to us than before. The Ben's Bell I have is now a prized possession and reminds me everyday about that first week after the tragedy and how far we've come from that time. It also reminds me that you never know the personal story, pain, or tragedy someone else is carrying and how much a simple act of kindness might mean to them.
Thank you and God bless.
I am always so touched by the kind words that people leave as comments on this blog, facebook messages, phone calls, and emails. It means more than you'll know and you'll never truly understand just how much it means until you're on the other side of tragedy. I hope you'll never know that side.

In church on Sunday the pastor spoke about being kind. You don't know the personal struggles of the person sitting next to you and you may just have a chance to make a profound difference in their life at that moment if you are simply nice to someone. It could just be a simple "Hello," to you, but it could be the world to someone else.

It was to me.

You all have been part of Christian's healing and part of our healing as a family. So I thank all of you for your kindness and understanding.

Pass it on. 


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your blog. It really helps me focus on the important things in life. You and your family remain in our prayers. Many Blessings.

gavman306 said...

This blog Shauna, we have never met, only on a mommy board, and you are the most amazing person I've "met." THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS YOU!

HesterFamily said...

Tears running down my face.... You don't know how much your blog does for us! A constant reminder that "there but by the grace of God go I". I am so constantly impressed by how gracefully and steadfastly you continue to fight for Christian. You help me to be a better mom and not get bogged down by the day to day stuff that I know you would do anything to be dealing with. Christian is a fighter like his momma and I continually pray for your family and for smiles!

Alicia said...

Wow! The "Ben's Bells" story is amazing! What a series of God Moments!

Isn't it amazing how a few nice words from virtual strangers can literally get you through your day? I know I am as blessed by your kind words and friendship. Let's keep it up, shall we? ; )

Rochelle said...

I agree with the others that have already commented. Your blog is inspiring to each of us. I had tears running down my face as I read this, too. I think the Ben's Bells story is awesome. Thank you for sharing that with us. I had never heard of it before. Absolutely will "pass it on" whenever I can. Hope you and your beautiful family have a wonderful weekend.

sunflourchic said...

wow, what a great story. i'm so glad that you have a ben's bell. 2 wonderful families. you have no idea what an inspiration you are. this morning i was having the most horrible morning and i was like seriously twins? why? it was mostly about finding socks and shoes and getting everyone ready and....normal stuff. i seriously had to take a step back and think about how mad i was getting over this petty stuff. i was so ungrateful for the blessings that i have. i thought of you and jenny, 2 people who i have never met but admire tremendously. how grateful you are and appreciative you are over everything. i had to stop and pray, i couldn't believe that such petty things had me wishing for peace & quiet. your children are truly blessed.

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