Learning The Art of Kindness {A Guest Post}

I am thrilled today to have my friend Deanna from Everything and Nothing from Essex sharing a bit of her amazing story. I know you will love meeting Deanna and I’m confident that your heart will be touched through reading this post.

Learning The Art of Kindness

All my life I have struggled with the simple principle of kindness. I learn things very quickly, so I tend to have very little patience for those who don’t. Criticizing faults, situations, and the best effort of others happened more often then I would like to admit.

Even in simple things- pushing and shoving in the crowded malls, rolling my eyes when the bagger at the grocery store took so long to perform his job, whispering about the outfit that so-and-so wore to the party, ripping apart the solo at church that wasn’t pitch-perfect, making passive aggressive stabs in the back while listing “suggestions”. It’s easy to be unkind, and sadly that was me more often than not.

Then three years ago I found out that my first child- a little girl- was sovereignly created to include an extra chromosome. Down syndrome. This news devastated me. I struggled for a long time over the whys and the unfairness of my life being “cursed” in such a way.

Since her birth- only a few years ago but seemingly a lifetime- my life has changed in so many wonderful, positive ways that I can’t possibly list them all here. One of the things that she has taught me is the importance of replacing judgement with kindness.

As I looked at my little girl, developmentally delayed with many physical struggles, for the first time I saw the arrogance of my previous disregard for the feelings of others. My critical eye looked at her struggling to breathe, and I thought about the unfair standards that I wanted to put on the world around me just to feel better about myself. My sharp tongue sung her lullabies in the NICU without caring about whether I got the words all right. My sense of judgment was quieted when I held her after her heart surgeries simply thankful that she was alive.

Without even realizing it, a new appreciation for life became my new focus. I stopped picking apart differences and learned to celebrate them. I realized for the first time that everyone has their own unique struggles, and that it was my job to help where I could and then step back and praise best efforts even if it wasn’t the standard of perfection that I previously thought was the only way.

I feel very blessed to have Down syndrome in my life, but I know many of you only know about Down syndrome from a a picture reposted on Facebook or perhaps another headline about genetic testing. So when I tell you that October is Down syndrome Awareness Month you might wonder what you’re supposed to do with that bit of information as you continue to scramble toward the holiday rush.

I think that by focusing on the value of difference (even if we haven’t personally experienced a dramatic “difference” in our lives), we can all be reminded of importance of fundamental Christian virtues- such as kindness.

For this month-long celebration of Down syndrome, let’s all look deeper into the eyes of that person we’re tempted to criticize and see a person doing the very best they can. Let’s all think positively toward the differences of others instead of ripping them apart for not being “just like us”. Let’s celebrate kindness, uplift the power of the positive word, notice what’s right instead of what’s wrong, and see the difference in the small things that we can do for others- like a smile, a wave, or simply just being patient.

I would like to say that I’ve completely conquered this lesson myself, but the truth is, I’m still learning. But I’m confident in continued progress because I have a pretty great teacher- a little girl with a blonde ponytail, beaming smile, and shining blue eyes. It’s almost as if she was created just for me. :-)

Thank you, thank you Deanna for this beautiful reminder!

I would love for y’all to visit Deanna’s blog and check out her e-book {Dreams Change} about becoming Addison’s mother. Both are beautiful inspirations to me.

Happy Sunday, y’all!!! :)  

XO

*****

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Comments

  1. Amen and amen.

  2. What a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing your heart, Deanna, AND your beautiful little girl- she’s absolutely darling.

  3. Deanna, this is such a touching story. I use to work as a NICU nurse and I’m always amazed by the strength God gives families like you. When I see or hear stories similar to yours it always put things into perspective for me. I’ve never gone through anything like what you’ve experienced, yet you sharing just touches my heart! I love your point on focusing on kindness verses judgement. It’s very thought provoking! It teaches me gracefulness and humility!
    Your sweet little girl is adorable! Thank you for sharing your mommy heart!
    Tabitha´s last blog post ..Fall Flower Bouquet

  4. Myra thank you for posting this guest post.

  5. I love this!
    Kelly´s last blog post ..Snapshots.

  6. Deanna, such a beautiful post. Thank you Myra for asking Deanna to post, and to Deanna for sharing a little of her (very kind and wonderful) heart and gorgeous daughter with us – a great reminder to us all x
    Annie´s last blog post ..Evolving {and a giveaway}

  7. Thank you for sharing this mom’s beautiful post about her daughter. I am the proud godmother of a lovely Down Syndrome girl, too.

  8. Just what I needed to hear today. Thank you for the lovely message! It is a wonderful lesson to me to read this and know that I can and should do better and be kinder :)

    Love the picture of Addison!

    Thank you.
    Yolanda´s last blog post ..Happy Birthday, Aaron! Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Roses

  9. Deanna — I love how you pointed this out. It made me realize the same has happened for me, without actually realizing it. I have had a difficult time not being critical of others for a long time {my mom was very critical of others, I remember well} and our son has autism. It has completely changed my attitude towards others. I’m much more compassionate of others’ children and people. Thank you for your obvious pointing of that out. Myra — good guest! What a blessing that children are, even if they aren’t exactly what we expect them to be. It’s such a privilege that God put certain children in our homes, hand picking them for us to care for :) My son is a blessing beyond what I ever could have imagine…but when he was first diagnosed, I never would’ve have thought that. He is now 13 years old. Praise God for His mercy and grace.

    Becky B.
    http://www.organizingmadefun.com
    Organizing Made Fun
    Becky@OrganizingMadeFun´s last blog post ..31 Days of Organizing Fun: Day #14 — Closet Rods

  10. great post and great blog … I follow Deanne and traveled over here. going to try the mexican lasagna receipe asap too! beautiful pics, thanks for the fun

  11. This is an inspiring post and it really hit home with me when I read “I thought about the unfair standards that I wanted to put on the world around me just to feel better about myself. ” God bless all of you.

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