There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies.
My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness.
– Dalai Lama
DISASTER STRIKES OUT OF NOWHERE
Occasionally, the unimaginable happens.
On Saturday, August 2, our daughter, Jordan, had the wedding of her dreams. On Sunday — at the start of her mini-honeymoon — she and her new husband learned of emergency weather conditions that were threatening their new family home. Their happy celebration of Life ended as they rushed back to their dogs and their home. What was supposed to be the start of an amazing, red-hot life became a nightmare. An unforgiving mudslide had attacked their home, killing both of their dogs, and inundating their yard and back of their house with debris, boulders, and water-soaked mud.
But it got worse . . .
The kids had to undergo the added hurt of digging their dogs’ bodies out of the muddy deluge.
And then they discovered that their insurance company would not cover the damages in any way or at all.
HERE’S WHERE IT GETS AMAZING . . .
Despite all my social media sharing with you, I hesitated even telling Jordan’s and Jake’s story. Ordinarily, I view these types of events as a private, family matter. But then I realized . . . this is not the time for such selfishness. There’s an amazing story to share with everyone.
As you know, I’m a big proponent of achieving kick-ass results and for setting impossible goals so that you can knock them down and make your dreams a reality. Jordan has done just that. While family is rallying around the situation and providing comfort, care, physical help, and money, Jordan — rather than simply giving up and succumbing to what others might see as impossible conditions — also decided to raise funds on her own.
No one likes to ask for charity. But Jordan faced her fears and her pain and her dread . . . and she did it.
She asked for help.
And the truly awesome and inspiring part of all this is that people answered the call.
With pick-them-up physical labor.
With comforting and selfless donations.
With prayers and blessings from all types of religions and beliefs.
And with much-needed, gentle words of love.
Perhaps what has manifested is best summarized by a friend of mine, Bill Riechle, as he also wrote about Jordan’s and Jake’s situation:
“If it were me, I think I would be having that very human response of shaking my fist at the universe – wondering what I did to deserve this. And then on my better moments – I might be looking at the kindness of strangers and wondering… what did I do to deserve this.”
All too often we stop caring about others. As a society, we are barraged everyday with invented disasters and manipulated headlines because those “in the know” know people need bad things to grab attention. And so the internet is filled with conjured up drama, overreactions to half-truths, and emotional roller-coasters. We don’t even know what’s real anymore.
THE REAL-LIFE LESSON WE ALL NEED TO REMEMBER
Jordan’s and Jake’s story is not make-believe. Life became overwhelming for them very fast. Like many of you, they are good people who are going through sudden and unexpected bad times.
Yet, they are young.
And this, too, shall pass.
And they will be stronger for it.
But what they have discovered most and the reason I am writing about this all here is this lesson:
REAL PEOPLE REALLY DO CARE ABOUT EACH OTHER . . . REALLY
When you understand their story, you discover that people are amazing.
You discover that people still empathize and sympathize.
You discover that when bad things happen, it’s okay to reach out just to make certain that the world will touch back kindly.
And you discover that Life is too short and that things can change in an instant despite all your best planning.
With those lessons comes a new perspective on . . .
. . . what really matters
. . . and what really doesn’t.
THANK YOU FOR GIVING ME A GIFT, TOO
This article, by the way, isn’t just about Jordan and Jake. It’s about me (and you), too. Because I’ve been reminded and learned from all of you, as well.
For confirming that there is real kindness in the world.
For being good souls.
For offering your help and sympathy to total strangers when the world simply got to be too much.
For all of you who’ve donated money to two kids you don’t even know.
For all of you who’ve sent me private messages and emails, re-posted the donation link, and even called me offering sympathy, physical labor, and even more money for the kids than their original fund amount.
I already knew you were incredible. You have taken that belief and made it a reality.
So . . . Thank you.
SOMETHING WE ALL SHOULD DO — GRAB LIFE BY THE THROAT
The events of Jordan’s and Jake’s life have proven that it is possible, with the help of friends, family and even complete strangers, to go out, grab Fate by the throat, refuse to let it go, and bend it to your will.
People survive. And people thrive. And we learn from what’s thrown in our path.
Because the real secret of success is that each morning you must get out of bed, put one muddy foot in front of another muddy foot, dig out from whatever personal bomb has been dropped , and raise a middle finger to the obstacles that challenge you.
When you find someone in need, remember these lyrics from the Frank Sinatra classic, “Cycles:”
“I’ve been told and I believe that Life was meant for living’
And even when the chips are low there’s still some left for givin’”
There is nothing more precious and valuable than your heartbeats. You don’t get those back. And when you choose to share those with others, you are the essence of what Kindness is all about.
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