Random Acts of Kindness
I recently witnessed a random act of kindness inside the prison walls that brought tears to my eyes, and I had to discretely wipe them away. I certainly didn’t want anyone to see me as an “old softie”! I have actually seen more kindness behind these walls in the last seven months then I’ve seen in years on the outside. This amazes me, due to the rough exterior most of us wear in here, for self-preservation I guess. The particular act of kindness I witnessed involved an extremely mentally challenged girl, that the correctional officers brought into our dorm. The mentally ill are housed here sometimes, for their own welfare, especially when it’s frigidly cold outside and they don’t know what else to do with them. The C.O.s pointed at one of the inmates in our dorm and asked her if she would help the girl out. The inmate, who I know on the “outside,” is pretty “gangsta” – you know – “thug life” and “Bessie Bad Ass.” Well, she respectfully agreed to “help out.” What really tugged at my heartstrings (and others noticed too) is the way she went above and beyond the call of duty. For days now, she has been by her side, day and night; helping her shower, escorting her to recreation and medical, cleaning her up as needed, brushing and braiding her hair, keeping her as comfortable emotionally and physically as she can, even telling her bedtime stories that she went out of her way to get at the library, giving her what little commissary food and drink items she had. She even grabbed the imaginary (or otherwise) being the poor girl was seeing, grabbing them by the belt and scruff of the neck, pounding on the door until the guards opened it and to the bewilderment of the guard, asked him to please escort this person out of the dorm. The look on the hug guard was priceless, but he respectfully “played along” at her urging and grabbed the imaginary person and escorted him out! The young girl beamed with delight! In the midst of my friend’s kindness, she was called to an outside medical facility to have a procedure done; she is under a lot of stress in her life, let alone not knowing when she will get out of here. Yet, here she is, with a bandaged up chest, in pain, but she doesn’t dwell on her own problems, she is still caretaking the young girl, taking her under her protective wing, and any new inmate that comes in, well, there she is with a compassionate smile, and words, a cup of tea for them and a law book under her arm or whatever help they may need. She is there for any of us who are having a “bad day.” I just want to say that she is an inspiration to us all. We need more random acts of kindness in the world and here in this prison. I feel like every time one of us does something for someone else, whether lending an ear or a smile or our time, a little spark goes up and out into the universe and all of the sparks join together and come back down to us, bringing peace and blessings back to us. I want to be like my friend when I “grow up” and I pray that God will bless her abundantly in everything she does in this life and the next.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
The young girl is getting out right now and my friend is tenderly packing her colored pictures and books for her, giving her caring words of wisdom, making sure she gets a cab paid for from the Department of Corrections, and making sure she has a place to go. She gives her a long warm hug and says goodbye with a tear in her eye (I have one, too… discretly).
Like Ellen says, “Be kind to one another.”