Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Kindness of Strangers can Happen When you Least Expect It #WATWB

Vivian Leigh as Blanche DuBois (Image via Wikimedia Commons)
There is that famous moment in Tennessee William's play, A Streetcar Named Desire, when Blanche DuBois tells her gentleman caller that she has always relied on "the kindness of strangers." Blanche DuBois was a real piece of work, of course, and her motives were completely self-centered. But the line has always stuck in my mind, along with the notion that we really never know when we will need to rely on the kindness of strangers. And it's not unusual to not expect a stranger will be kind which makes stories of the kindness of strangers so powerful to me.

For the 9th installment of the We are the World Blogfest (#WATWB), I found a story that really exemplifies the blogfest's mission of being a light in the current darkness and drawing attention to human stories of love, peace, and compassion for others.

Kate McClure, a young woman driving outside of Philadelphia, found herself in the unhappy position of running out of gas on a highway. She managed to pull over to the side of the road, and was thinking about going in search of a gas station when a homeless man approached her car.
Johnny, who is a homeless veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, asked McClure if she was okay.

“He saw me pull over and knew something was wrong,” says McClure. “He told me to get back in the car and lock the doors.”
What happened next made my jaw drop. Read the whole story here.  This young woman also did something in response that I found unusual and heartwarming.

Kate McClure and Johnny
If you'd like to read more stories of light, please visit the blogs of our wonderful hosts this month:

 Shilpa Garg, Inderpreet Uppal, Sylvia Stein, Susan Scott, Andrea Michaels and Damyanti Biswas

Or visit this page or the #WATWB Facebook page for links to even more blogs that share stories of light with the online world.  If you'd like to join the blogfest, you can sign up here.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

A Stranger's Generosity #WATWB

For the eighth installment of the We are the World Blogfest (#WATWB), I found myself drawn to a story of generosity from a stranger. Such acts of generosity always move me because a stranger is not expected to do much but the minimum in helping someone in need. Single Mom Naomi Pruitt of Columbus, Indiana, had a different experience with a stranger.

It began with a flat bicycle tire. Pruitt, who had contracted Lyme Disease and was on disability as a result, was riding her bike to the grocery store. Symptoms of Lyme Disease make it difficult to drive a car. On the way, her bike's tire blew out in front of a home and the homeowner happened to be just driving into his driveway. He asked if he could help her. She accepted his offer and rolled her bike into his garage where she spied a trek bike hanging on the wall.  She told the homeowner her story, and about her three sons, aged 13, 12, and 8. She asked if the trek bike might be for sale.  She wanted to buy her 12-year-old son a bike for his birthday.

From there, the homeowner, unbeknownst to Pruitt, organized a special surprise for all three of Pruitt's sons. To find out what happened, read the story of his generosity and the people who helped him here.

One of the details that struck me about this story was that the generous homeowner preferred to remain anonymous.  He gave simply to give and to help, not to gain some benefit for himself through publicity.  And the Columbus, Indiana, police were more than happy to step in and play a significant role in helping that homeowner give his gift. What a wonderful example of selflessness and love!

The We are the World Blogfest strives to bring light into our dark world through stories of human compassion, love, and kindness toward other humans and animals on earth. This month's installment is hosted by the following participant bloggers: Shilpa Garg, Sylvia McGrath, Mary Giese, Belinda Witzenhausen, and Guilie Castillo.  For more stories of light, visit their blogs or those listed here.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

A Positive Attitude Changes One Mind at a Time - #WATWB

Seven months of positive news! This is the seventh installment of We are the World Blogfest which was begun to counter the negative news that pervades the internet nowadays.  Peace, love, compassion, thinking positively, we are trying to spread all of this as light in a dark world. And there is love and light in our world! Our wonderful co-hosts for this month's installment are Michelle Wallace , Shilpa GargAndrea MichaelsPeter NenaEmerald Barnes. 

For my contribution this month, I'd like to share the story of how the positive thinking of an African-American parole officer changed a White Supremacist's way of thinking about the world and himself.

"I don't want my kids to live the life I lived and live in hate."
That's a powerful statement from Michael Kent, a former Neo-Nazi who was a member of a violent white supremacist group. How did he get there?

Enter Tiffany Whittier, a parole officer who was assigned to Kent.

Tiffany Whittier
Her simple, direct, and positive approach had a profound effect on Kent. They became friends, not just parole officer and ex-con.

To read their full story, click here.  I love these types of stories in which one individual has the power to change the thinking of someone else. There are times when it's hard to believe this is possible, but this story (any many others out there) demonstrates that it is. We each, as individuals, have the power to affect other people and the world around us, either by how we live our lives, what we say, or what we do.

Help spread the word about We are the World Blogfest on social media by using the hashtag #WATWB. And if you'd like to read more positive news, check out the list of participating bloggers here. Visit their blogs and comment on their stories. Re-blog or tell your friends and family about the stories you've read. Visit the #WATWB Facebook page, too. Spread the light and love.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

A Simple Note on a Napkin #WATWB

How do you spread loving kindness throughout your day?

It's the sixth installment of the We Are the World Blogfest (#WATWB), and this story shows how simple it is to spread loving kindness through empathy and taking a few minutes to share your own experience with someone. I especially love how the young man acted in a highly respectful way, too. He knew how to be light in darkness.

It's the ultimate tough thing - traveling to a funeral - and this woman was flying to bury her son. It's also a tough thing to know what to say and how to say it to comfort or reassure someone in that situation. Somehow the young man's heart knew, as I think is true for all of us. Our deepest hearts know.

Photo credit: Facebook/Tricia J Belstra
And there's more written on the napkin here.

As Ludwig van Beethoven wrote on the first page of the manuscript to his Missa Solemnis: "Von Herzen - Moege es wieder - zu Herzen gehn!" (From heart -- may it again -- to heart go!")

The full-of-light hosts for this month's We are the World Blogfest are: Simon Falk, Eric Lahti, Lynn Hallbrooks, Roshan Radhakrishnan, Inderpreet Uppal, and Mary J. Giese. For more stories that spread the love, check out their posts as well as the #WATWB participants listed here at the bottom of the page.

In Darkness, be Light.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Compassion of Strangers #WATWB

Five months! #WATWB, or We are the World Blogfest, has been moving right along for five months now, with bloggers sharing stories of positive action of people for people to counter the flood of negative news and energy in the world right now. This month's hosts are Simon Falk, Roshan Radhakrishnan, Inderpreet Uppal, Sylvia Stein, and Damyanti Biswas. Check out their blogs, as well as others listed on Damyanti's blog, to read something positive in your world! My contribution is below.

When I first read this blogpost, the writer's courage blew me away. Yes, it takes a LOT of courage to be open about physical and psychological trauma suffered at the hands of a friend. Most people would want to hide away and not talk about it. The blogger, Laura, shares her story not only to reveal her trauma, but also to describe the amazing compassion of strangers that she encountered.

Glastonbury Festival in the UK is a performing arts festival that occurs every year in June. Laura had made plans with friends to go, but one of those friends proved to not be a trustworthy and respectful friend (which is an understatement). As a result, Laura faced the possibility of not being able to go to Glastonbury. But she did a courageous thing: she wrote to the Festival and described her dilemma. The Glastonbury Festival responded with such amazing understanding and compassion, they showed that loving kindness and caring are truly out there in the world for all to see. They protected Laura when she could not count on her "friends" to do so.

Photo courtesy LifeonLauraLane Blog

Bravo, Laura, for standing tall and being a survivor! And bravo to the Glastonbury Festival who hire such compassionate, protective, and supportive people to take care of their audience. For the complete story, please read Laura's blog post: "An Open Letter to Glastonbury, from a victim."