I came home with unpleasant and undesirable emotions, my mood-o-meter rising well above boiling point. As soon as I entered, Da asked his usual question, “How was your dance class?” “Bad. Very bad,” I answered in a stern tone as if it was his fault that I did not do well in class.
I heard the kids call out for me from the ommachi room. Da gave a heads up, “The kids have planned a surprise for you.” The simmering despondency showed no signs of abating. “Ayoo, not now, not now please. The last thing I want to do is fake enthusiasm when I am fretting and fuming with every fiber in my being,” moaned the voice in my head. The lights were off, Hari was holding a long forgotten giant teddy bear stuffed toy and the room was like a nightclub with the lights from the projector dancing around. Ram was excitement personified with the new toy. I managed to say a wow, give a hug, unable to partake in the merriment. Although it was not obvious to me then, in hindsight, this was an act of kindness, one that I needed at that moment. A thoughtful random act of loving and sharing their joy with me. Made me feel accepted even when I could not accept myself.
I continued my rant, “I did not prepare for dance class. I didn’t have the time to prepare. I just stood there like a statute. I am upset with myself. I am also disappointed that I will not be able to make it to tomorrow’s class. It is a challenging class and I am missing it. I am missing the opportunity to learn and get better.” Seeing me genuinely upset, Da offered, “It looks like you could use a cup of tea. Go settle down, I will make some tea.” Again another act of kindness. An act of caring, loving, and being there. Again one that did not please me then because I was drowning in self inflicted frustration but it had an effect. Few minutes later, the hot piping tea brought my mood-o-meter dramatically down from its boiling point. “God bless this guy,” I thought to myself. Phew, finally, that first spark of positivity!
Hari came up to me with a guilty look, “Amma I feel like I am at fault for your dance class.” He and I have been were scrambling in the last minute all day today for a tamil exam tomorrow. This confession was the third act of kindness, an act of taking responsibility and showing remorse for his slackness. My mood-o-meter was finally at room temperature. “Illa kanna, don’t make it your fault. I am here to help you. I want to help you. But last minute help is very stressful and has consequences not just for you, but for the entire family. Let’s not repeat this. ”
I owe a debt of gratitude to these minions of mine for all their acts of kindness, caring, loving, and being there for me even when I am unpleasant to be with. God bless them! They helped channelize my negativity into something more constructive this evening. Next time you see a loved one in a sour mood, make him/her some tea, give a comforting nod, and just be there. Even when he or she is unable to acknowledge your acts of kindness, deep in his/her hearts know that you are being blessed. Take it from someone who experienced it.