February, the love month, celebrates Valentine’s Day the 14th and February 17th Kindness Day. This article will be published after the fact. Even after both days, it seems this message can apply 365 days of the year. At least we all might try this, and perhaps many in Homer do this as a matter of fact, such has been my experience on several occasion.
Recently having had a total hip replacement, the phrase “two strong legs” takes on new meaning. In the course of this major operation, a variety of health care providers in Homer and Anchorage gave me assistance to move me closer to the date of and then post operatively.
On the surgery table, a big, strong nurse asked if I was retired or worked. When I replied, “retired teacher,” he said, “Give me five. I still teach a course in chemistry and love it along with this side work. You’ll get the treatment of a queen because anyone who teaches deserves that!” Heading to a state of unconsciousness, can a person hear anything nicer than that?
Without modern medicine and the workers therein, my future, less than two weeks later, would look different than today when I walk without pain, without every thought of how to position myself, without consideration of stairs, and somewhat bionic with an artificial hip joint. Gratitude for modern medicine needs a thank you note, something hands on for such important work performed by ordinary people with extraordinary care and consideration for the people in need 24/hours a day, 365 days a year. Health workers strive to be current with modern techniques and equipment that change nearly as fast as the weather.
After and before surgery, friends called, texted, brought food, flowers and gifts. It’s a humbling thing to be on the receiving end of this kind of grace. Hands on love, philanthropy in the flesh with a smile and encouragement, washes over and feels like being in a bubble of healing light.
Extend this concept to first responders, security personnel, library employees, teachers, lawyers, legislators, nonprofit volunteers, city workers, business women and men, ordinary people doing extraordinary work every day, likely narrowly focused to accomplish a task efficiently and thoroughly.
Often we go about our lives focused as if unable to see how it takes all of us to create community and a place of pride where we can invest energy and money using intellect and debate in creative ways. How to use civil interaction to advance what is good for all people in this community, borough and state. Yet if each day, we give this pledge to ourselves, family and workplace, more than likely gray days would seem sunnier, difficult work lighter, random meetings with other people friendlier. More than likely we would all rush less. We would interact with the next person with thoughts of intention and individual focus, care and good neighborliness.
Each person who cared for me in offices and the hospital seemed like they personally cared for my well-being. In that moment, my health was important and they wanted me to understand this major process, what led up to surgery, what actually happened as I lay unconscious, and how I would be assisted becoming conscious and later in the same 24 hours walk again with a new hip. I feared general anesthesia, pain meds and finally surrendered to this process. I decided to trust, and breath by breath and step by step move forward in partnership with people who do this work daily.
The drive to Anchorage and return to Homer, both ways, was totally sunny with clear roads, the best winter driving possible and a view of Denali and Foraker as frosting on the cake. The prearranged B &B in Anchorage felt like a welcome home and how-can-we-help-you business. In fact, it didn’t feel like a business. It felt like family.
Without sounding too Pollyanna and happiness forever, I write in the spirit of encouraging all of us during these difficult political and financial times to challenge ourselves to be philanthropic with time and money, to be kinder, more patient and look for one thing to be grateful for daily. Let’s be philanthropic with each other and give at each opportunity, to nonprofits, to our church, to our neighbor. In the end, kindness matters, maybe all that matters.
Flo Larson is a retired teacher, mother, grandmother, gardener, Homer Foundation Board member, and volunteer.
Nonprofit Needs for February
South Peninsula Haven House needs:
Crates in good condition (used for displays)
Tires-245/75R16, both summer and winter
Printer Ink/Cannon MG 5220
Padlocks with 4-Digit combination
Child Advocacy Center:
Healthy Individually Packaged snacks.
Keurig-Single Serving Cups coffee/cocoa (K-Cups)
Contact: Maggie Lush