We hear that saying a lot, think we know what it means, but what does it look like?
We see things on tv about a secret boss changing lives through financial gifts, or a stranger paying for someone's surgery, but it’s not always a grand gesture. Sometimes it’s just people being themselves and just being good human beings. I want to share with you how a family’s kindness made a tremendous impact on my life.
Matuschka (pictured with me above) was a beautiful young girl with a warm smile and an infectious laugh. She was happy and funny. She loved life and everybody loved her. We met in the 7th grade and became friends.
There was a small group of us girls who would often spend the night at someone’s house on the weekends. And even though we were good friends, Matuschka had no idea how important her friendship was to me. I didn’t share with her (or anyone else at the time), but I was a very broken teenager.
My home life was terrible. My parents had lost custody of me when I was a baby, I spent some time in foster care before my grandparents got me around the age of 2. Their home turned out to be very abusive. I was so ashamed of what went on behind closed doors. I kept it a secret because I just wanted to fit in and be “normal”. I just wanted…to…feel…normal.
Of the houses I stayed at, Matuschka’s was my favorite. While there I was able to see first-hand what a caring and loving family looked like. Her parents were loving, but firm, and spoke to each other with kindness and respect. They spoke to their kids that way, too, and to my surprise they spoke to all of us girls with the same gentle yet firm tone.
We girls would giggle our way through the evening playing games, talking about boys, doing each other’s hair and nails.(Matuschka is the one who taught me to French Braid. I loved feeling her hair because it was so different from mine. Her hair was so soft and so pretty.) Those times were glorious and made me forget everything I was hiding.
I also remember sleeping so well at her house. There was a calm that I wasn’t used to and I remember the smell of incense her mother burned. The love in the house was like one of those weighted blankets designed to calm anxiety. I felt it, and I felt safe, a feeling that escaped me most of the time.
She and her family, without knowing it, shaped my vision of how I wanted my future family to look one day. Matuschka did nothing more than to be her wonderful, gracious self whose happiness was infectious. She gave me one of the greatest gifts I could receive at that time during my life. She and her family provided a safe, loving home filled with wholesomeness and kindness. It’s a gift I’ll never forget and always be grateful for.
The older I have gotten the more appreciative I have been of that experience, and I see the deep impact it had on me. I wish every young teenage from a troubled home could have an experience like that, it would give them hope that good people and good families really do exist.
Matuschka and I grew up and went our own separate ways. I have watched her success from afar and watched her become a beautiful doting mother herself. Over the years I have healed too. I sought out therapy to heal my scars and to become the type wife and mother I saw in her mother. I have been able to create a family atmosphere that is loving and respectful the way I remember her house to be.
So when people say Kindness Matters, IT DOES. It simply does, and you don’t have to worry about trying to do something grand. Just be a good human being. You never know who is watching you and taking in how you treat others. It might be shaping someone’s life and you don’t even know it.
To the Lindo family you were my angels. I couldn’t tell you then but I’m telling you now. I love you all and you'll always be a part of my story.
What about you? Has someone’s act of kindness made an impact on you? Please share in the comments below. I’d love to hear your story.