Spending a great deal of time being down for the count this year led me to some upsetting revelations. Well maybe re-revelations at a deeper level. I’ve learned that I’m not in control of everything. Well damn! In fact I control very little of anything. It’s deeply disturbing being that I grew up the eldest of 6 kids and it was my way or the highway in the growing up years. I solved the control issue in relationships in adult life by not being in them for very long.
So here I am in the undiscovered territory of a 10 year relationship with the Mr. Husband. We are now 2 people who try to control everything. A control freaker’s nightmare is to be in the presence of another control freaker when they are doing their control freaky thing. We both accuse the other of it explicitly or implied.
But I’m learning to let go. God or the Great Pumpkin is wringing this control freak tendency out of my cold half dead hands. One way it’s coming about is the great cosmic smack down of these last months. I can hear someone up there laughing and saying “Soooo…..you think you can control everything, do ya? We’ll just see about that! First, we are going to stop up your head so bad that you’ll have to breathe your eyelids. Then we’re going to turn your back into a pretzel. Take that and deal with it and then and only then will we talk about serenity and going with the flow.”
But letting go of that illusion of control creates a void in my soul, psyche, or wherever it lodges. I need something in that space or I fear its collapse. The result of this forced soul-searching is a twist on the activity of committing random acts of kindness (aka RAOK). I don’t have do anything other than keep my big mouth shut and observe. My ROAK is temporarily limited to being cheerful as much as possible and not listing a diatribe of my personal health problems when asked “so how are you?” Or “What’s new?”
But I can observe, no preparation or physical energy required. I started watching for Random Acts of Kindness a few days ago and it’s a real eye opener. What I’ve found is an untapped goldmine of giggles and happiness.
If you try watching for random acts of kindness you will be amazed and overjoyed by how often you witness it. A shop clerk turns who to you, puts on a big smile and asks “How can I help you today?”, after dealing with another rude, irate and abusive customer is committing an ROAK right under your nose. A young man who looks like the run of the mill oblivious teen ager looks up from his phone for a minute and then stands and offers his seat to a woman who looks really tired. A driver slows and lets you on the crowded freeway instead of honking and flipping you off. These ROAKs are happening everywhere I tell you, once you start looking for them. It can be addicting.
Mister husband and mother in law get plenty opportunities to practice this with me. All the meds I’m on lately wreaked havoc with my stomach and it has been complaining loudly. So at dinner a few nights ago I opened my mouth to speak , but instead emitted a sudden belch with almost enough velocity to rattle the windows. I just sat there in shock. My mother-in-law said “well bring it up again and we’ll vote on it.” Mr. Husband asked me if I was OK. My response was a clothed mouth nod and a sense of relief that it has not been empirically proven that one can actually die of embarrassment.
So watching for random acts of kindness is my new hobby along with committing them myself when possible. Just try it you’ll like it. And like me when you start paying attention to kindness, acts of meanness will fade into the background and you don’t notice them as much. Our brains can only focus on so many things at a given time. That’s my theory anyway, and I’m sticking to it.