I thought I would make a list of 5 kindnesses that I have benefited from and enjoyed that I remember and ponder on still...
I wonder if I have played a part in other people lives in this way?
1. When I was student studying medicine my little sister, Bex bought me a tea caddy. She had no particular reason to be so unselfishly generous with her meager means, especially as I was relatively comfortable as a student in my own flat, living with my boyfriend (now hubby) John. She bought other little useful and lovely gifts over the years of studenthood. They have meant a lot to me. She helped me feel loved and cherished at a time when we were far apart.
2. Towards the end of my 1st pregnancy I was bored at home, too huge to take up a new hobby and generally pretty isolated. Nicky (the English one!) came over to my house, kept me company and took me out to the cinema. She didn't take my prevaricating about the bush for an answer, or wait for me to call. She also kept this up during my maternity leave with new baby! I deeply appreciate this work of true friendship and am humbled by what a lovely person she is.
3. When John moved to Kent to take up a job in the civil service I still had 2 years of med school in Edinburgh to finish. To keep the relationship going meant using a big chunk of wage traveling North, and a bigger chunk saving for us to be together for my elective abroad. 1 year in and I went South for interviews, so that I could do my house jobs in Kent. While he was at work I found a LOT of expensive role playing games and further evidence he was not saving for our future. I went home to Edinburgh knowing he did not value our relationship, it was de facto over. Nicky (Scottish one!) was my true friend I turned too. She was there for me at my lowest ebb. She sympathised, we got drunk, we talked. Pivotal bit of caring for me.
4.When my 3rd child was born he had persistent hypoglycaemia and needed admission to special baby unit in Aberdeen - a problem when you are on Shetland! My hubby had to stay on the Island to look after the oldest 2, leaving me to travel alone with our son. I phoned my sister, Ruth, in tears as you can imagine and she dropped everything and came North to Aberdeen to be with me. She took me out from the hospital and helped me buy clothes (Hubby had packed for me, and while I had loads of baby clothes I had been given no knickers and no change of clothes!) and to even laugh while my son recovered in hospital.
5. When I was a fairly new medical student I became unwell with flu like symptoms that went on for a few weeks. I presented myself to my GP who suggested bed rest, paracetamol, fluids and it would pass. It didn't and so I presented again. This time, after a brief examination he asked me if I was OK in my studies, could my symptoms be unhappiness? I was appalled and quite angry at this suggestion - I thought I was doing OK keeping to the routines of anatomy, physiology and biochem quite well. He asked to think about it and promised blood tests if I felt I needed to return. I thought about it. I talked to Mum about it. I realised when I started crying that the GP had been spot on. This gave me the courage to ignore the lies my mind was feeding my body was feeding my mind and get on with the business of being a first year student. His straight talking helped me immeasurably. I rank his act of kindness as highly as the ones above.