Small Lights Friday!
Happy Friday everyone! And Happy Small Lights Friday! I am so touched by all of the responses I got from everyone over the past two weeks! It was such a joyful experience for me to see people participate and spread their kindness. So, to kick it off, I would like to say that every single one of you is a light just for sharing these little stories with me and warming this gray haired 30 year old’s heart!
Before I highlight all of the lovely lights you’ve all so beautifully lit, I would like to share one of my own from just the other day. I hope that by sharing this with you, it will help contextualize exactly what our goal is when we aim to be Small Lights, and the benefits these small actions bring to ourselves and to each other.
Everyone is Friends on the Bike Path!
On Wednesday of this week, I was not feeling myself. Living with depression and anxiety can be difficult, as I’m sure so many of you know. I decided to take a mental health day to get a grip on my feelings and sort myself out. For me, going skating is the best way to ground myself; I can listen to the birds chirp and I can smell the fresh air and I can feel the wind against my skin. Nature has always been a reliable quick fix for getting back in touch with myself, experiencing the Earth with all of my senses. (Okay, I didn’t eat a dandelion, so let’s just say most of my senses).
Photo evidence confirming my unhealthy obsession with trees.
On my mid morning skate, I came across a group of 3 people, one of whom was on rollerblades. I’d actually seen this same group earlier in my ride and we’d shared a laugh together over a runaway skateboard, so I waved hello. The gentleman in the rollerblades waved me down, and through his laughter, asked me for his help. “Please!” he said, as we started giggling in unison now. “I want to play indoor hockey and I’m trying to learn to skate! Can you show me?” I smiled wider than I had in days when he asked me that! Immediately my fog began to lift.
I said “Of course!” I told him what I knew, all the while joking that I was also still learning as we laughed together.
“Bring your feet together!”
“Like this, right?”
“Yes! You’re doing it, yes!! Now just keep it up!”
The woman he was with wore a beautiful, happy grin as she cheered him on. “Now go down the hill!”
I called after him as he disappeared down the slope.. “I’m sorry I didn’t teach you how to brake!”
The woman he was with chatted with me for a few moments before I wished them a good day and continued my skate.
After that experience, my mind felt so much clearer and calmer. Being able to help someone, even just a little, even if I didn’t teach him to brake (he’s probably fine, right?) was enough to bring my mind back to reality, and significantly helped me with feelings of depersonalization. I couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of my skate!
This small interaction benefited everyone involved. The gentleman I helped was skating better when we parted ways and was thankful for my help. I was probably even more thankful to him, for flagging me down, and doing me the incredible kindness of seeing me not as I saw myself in that moment, but as I would want the world to see me.
I really wanted to share that with all of you because it was just the most perfect example of what being a Small Light is. The man I helped was a Small Light for me, and he didn’t even know it. And then, he gave me a chance to be a Small Light for him.
Let’s Talk Triumphs!
Now, that’s more than enough about me! Let’s get to the good stuff – all of you!! Check it out – look at all the good you’re all spreading!
Again, I was blown away and thrilled with the responses I received. I also noticed a trend in these acts of kindness that I think is worth diving into. A lot of what you’ve all done has either had to do with food, or our senior community! There may be a reason why the results are trending this way.
For the past 14 months, we have been enduring an incredibly challenging situation. Covid-19 was hard on every one of us, but it was particularly hard on the elderly. As a high risk demographic, our older population was, and to some degree still is, unable to go about their daily lives. Beyond that, not being able to visit a grandparent or elderly parent has been so painful for all of us.
I have experienced loneliness in my life, but the past year plus has redefined this word for me. Loneliness settles deep inside your heart, embedded, unwilling to relent. It clenches its fists around your gut and pulls you downward. Loneliness comes like a cup of tea left forgotten on the counter, starting out piping hot, slowly losing its steam, until finally settling at room temperature. No one wants to drink that tea. No one wants to feel alone.
I can not begin to imagine the loneliness our elderly community is still currently challenged by. And so, my Small Light Triumph for today, Friday, is to provide resources for helping our elderly friends and family. This demographic is essential; they cast a torch towards the past and provide wisdom unmatched. I want them to be celebrated. I want them to be in the warmth of our light. So, grab your flashlights, your lanterns, and your Himalayan salt lamps. Let’s be lights!
I’ve included some great resources for helping our elderly community!
Here you will find the vast array of governmental resources for assisting our elderly community in Massachusetts. (If you’re not in MA, your state’s website should have these listed as well). It covers everything you’d need to know to assist a senior family member or friend with anything from prescription assistance to reporting elderly abuse. It has resources for housing, health insurance counselling, and much more!
Here is a fantastic program called Meals on Wheels. This in particular is very close to my heart; my mother used to volunteer for them and I was always excited if I had the chance to go along with her and help! When you volunteer, there is a central location where you pick up the meals you are delivering, and then you simply go and drop them off! A meal, a friendly face and a smile. What more could anyone ask for?
This volunteer program connects you with hospice patients and you can read to them. I love this one so much; it’s such a compassionate and kind effort.
Ah yes, AARP, tried and true and already sending me mailers. They have a lot of different options on here and it’s all virtual for now due to Covid-19. Now, for this resource, do keep in mind the opportunities to volunteer run the gamut, so you may find something for seniors or you may find something else you’d like to learn more about! Personally, I think their Digital Fraud Fighter volunteer position looks really cool; you can help seniors avoid getting scammed online or over the phone.
Utilize these resources, share them with a friend, or just keep them in your back pocket and know you are armed with information to help our senior community.
There’s one more thing, and I truly believe this is the best thing we can do to be Small Lights for our seniors, because it’s so effortless we can do it every single day: When you see a senior walking down the street, or shopping next to you, or in line next to you at the coffee shop, acknowledge them. Smile at them, wave at them, say hello. See them. Just see them. And in that same vein, let’s make sure we always see each other too.