All month, my eye has been janky because of the ash I blinked down at my hometown fireworks. So I’ve rocked the glasses. Well, last Sunday, I decided I’d had about enough of that, and I wore a new set of contacts. And it was fine, until I fell asleep in them. But let’s be real. I’ve had contacts since the eighth grade. This was not my first rodeo. I didn’t think anything of it, until I woke up with red eyes like you see on the cover of Goosebumps paperbacks.
So I threw the pair away and wore my glasses.
And maybe also, I shamelessly had my dad drive me to work, because I am a strong, independent woman who ALSO couldn’t look out the windshield without my eyes watering and goop trailing down my cheeks. #realtalk :/ All that drive did was make me love my dad MORE, and make me text my supervisor and ask for a day to rest.
Well, I took the day off work and laid low, but by the end of the night, I could’ve been a vampire from Twilight or an albino rat. These peepers were RED, people. So we spent FHE at Instacare, cause why not, you know? We’re young, wild, and free.
I held my ever-sagging eye open for a really animated doctor who may just have been Bill Nye’s aging father, who then announced that I had a stubborn bacterial infection that I needed to treat aggressively. He prescribed ointment that was essentially like Neosporin for my eye, and we went home. I used the ointment (which, why is that one of those words that sounds just exactly like what it is? OINT.MENT. Whoa.) he perscribed, and woke up the next morning unable to open my eye. Which is kind of like progress, except not.
We pulled out the big guns and saw the ophthalmologist. I sat in his chair and held my swollen peepers open and he pronounced that I indeed had an aggressive eye infection, and that it felt like I had paper cuts on my eyes, it was only because the bacteria was lacerating the surface. WAT. So whatever. He prescribed some drops, and I spent the next couple of days home from work, in a dark room (the bacteria had progressed to the point that I was EXTREMELY light sensitive and even natural light would cause a new onset of pain) listening to Harry Potter on tape.
As my friend McCall lovingly put it, “You sound like some kind of mad scientist.”
However, this isn’t an entry to whine in a humorous way about my eye fungi (although I’ve done a pretty thorough job, I know), it’s about the goodness of humanity. It’s about kindness.
This little experience happened to come right around the time that we were listing, selling, and showing our little apartment. And rather than use all the time off work to get things done, I was hiding in the room with the darkest curtains, icing my eyes. And that made me feel a little useless. My sweet husband tidied, photographed, and even worked from home to make sure I was okay and things got done. Not once did he complain or make me feel useless or unhelpful. He wet washcloths and swapped out ice packs. He sat next to me in the dark and held my hand. He made me laugh. And even though I wasn’t great company, he missed me when he had to go run errands. He showed me active Christlike kindness.
The day we showed our apartment, we had to open all the blinds for a few hours straight. (Hahah. I know. It is hilarious that this was a trial. Like, throw water on me, I’m a witch. I COULDN’T BE IN THE SUN.) The kitchen was so bright, I had no idea how to make dinner, and Cody was running around getting everything cleaned and ready for people. Right as I was worrying, I got a text from McCall asking if we’d eaten yet. Then she showed up with chicken fajita stuff, salsa, and tortillas. And she stayed with us all through the showings and raised my spirits.
That same day, I got a card in the mail from my friend Shelbi, with whom I did shows with in high school. It was a simple, heartfelt thank you for being who I am, and for knowing that I am God’s daughter and have worth. On a week where I was feeling about as divinely purposeful as frozen custard, it was a hand-written, heaven-sent testimony that God knew my heart and my minuscule struggle.
And although my eye junk is mostly just a weird, funny story, the kindness shown got me thinking. I think everyone, whoever they are, spends a few days in a dark room, so to speak. Everyone has days or weeks or months or years where things – perhaps something as integral and personal as sight, or things further beyond control – are limiting and debilitating. Everyone needs encouragement. The pains of the human heart may not be visible ailments or easy to talk about. They may not be obvious. We may never know someone is passing through a dark room just by looking at them, or even talking with them.
But God knows. And I know that if we ask him, and if we really listen to the feelings of the Holy Ghost, we will know, too. And our Savior, who knows perfectly, will teach us to be kind.
I believe there are millions of nice people in the world. I do. But I believe that to be kind is a much more active thing than civility. It’s so much more than thinking positively or being friendly to and about others. It is concerted, thoughtful interest in another human being and their situation, and selfless action and expression of love based on that interest. It is the balm of every pain and hurt, and it is the need of every heart, in every struggle, in every dark room that life offers.
So, people. In closing, and in the words of a favorite printable, “Throw kindness around like confetti.” And, if we want to get scriptural and quote the Master himself, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”