Tasting Kindness

A few days ago, I flew home from Bangkok after finding out my lovely man has a tumour in his eye.

You may have had one of these experiences in your life, the kind that catapults you into love and clarity (it reminds me, now, of childbirth), not to mention instant intimacy with the Thai cab driver, the woman at the check-in counter at Cathay Pacific, cashiers at the grocery store, and on and on.

Two of these intimacies were enough to wake me up in the middle of the night to write this.

On the packed flight from Hong Kong to Toronto, I sat beside a woman whose face I never really looked at, because looking at anyone’s face made me cry. She didn’t speak English. I helped her with her seatbelt at some point and she did what I’d done in Bangkok for three days: she grunted, mumbled, and nodded her head.

We sat beside each other for something like 15 hours, during which I started to cry (silently, I hope, though why I give a damn, I don’t know) perhaps 15 times. The third or fourth time in, she patted my thigh and passed me a piece of gum. Gum. It was one of those disgusting flavours that turn my stomach: fruity, maybe fake strawberry, with an explosive, liquid centre. Horrifying.

I chewed it till it was cardboard, and in the three minutes it took, I fell in love with disgusting strawberry gum, because of the way it filled my mouth with kindness. (It’s a good thing I fell in love with the flavour, because she gave me approximately ten more pieces, one each time I started to cry.) Thanks, thanks to you, whoever you are.

Later, in Toronto, going through customs, I had one concern and one only, and that was to have a smile on my face when I met my lovely man.

The customs guy justifiably questioned my three-day trip to Asia. I doubt I look like a drug dealer, but I’ll bet lots of them don’t. I answered his questions by saying my trip had been cut short. By what, he wanted to know. By something bad happening, I said, which wasn’t good enough for him. By something bad happening to my lovely man, I said, and started to cry.

Never believe what you hear about airport personnel being unkind. He asked for my boarding pass. In full snot at this point, and rifling pointlessly through my purse, I told him I didn’t have it. How about the flight number, he asked, which sent me over an edge. I don’t remember it, I said, but every $%&*ing person behind me was on the same flight, can you not ask one of them?

He paused for a second. I’ll make one up, he said. You can go ahead. As I passed his desk, he put a hand out toward my arm and asked, how is your lovely man now?

I don’t know yet, i told him, and ran past.

Thanks, thanks to you, whoever you are.

What wakes me up tonight is that kindness is everywhere. The world is so filled with it that even this awful event in our life, this huge, catastrophic slam, is a love story.

I’m glad to know that.

Thanks, thanks to you for the conversation,


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17 Responses to Tasting Kindness

  1. Connie Robbins says:

    Hello Kristin, I was led here from your FB page, and I want to tell you that you and your lovely man are in my thoughts and prayers. It caught my attention when you compared being catapulted “into love and clarity” to that of childbirth… the reason being that when my husband of 34+ years died, I had painfully noted that he died giving birth to me. It’s been five years since his passing, and I still miss him so much, but I am grateful to him for all the lessons he brought.

    Thanks for being here, Kristin.

  2. Sharon says:

    You both are in my prayers. Wishing your darling man a swift recovery. xxxxx

  3. Neil says:

    You have already seen through the tears, in my case that blur lasted for months after the conversation that changed everything.
    No matter the interval though, the clarity beyond that shroud is and remains, there is love, and there is kindness. Everywhere, when you look to see it.
    My thoughts are with you both.

  4. richard says:

    “I AM” is with you….

  5. Adrian says:

    i love you, i love you, i love you.

  6. Shelley Hoffmas says:

    In the days that you first posted on FB that you were coming home I knew it was something of only this magnitude that would bring you home. I can’t stop thinking of you and Pat over these past days… sending you ‘Beams’ of Love to you.

    You have such an amazing spirit Miss Kristin… I am better for knowing you! I am blessed for loving you… and I am honoured to call you friend.

    You have such an amazing insight to love and we all know that LOVE WINS every time…

    Tuesday’s With Morrie has reminded all of us that went to see it that we need to always let people know how much we love them and how much we care… you do that daily to everyone you come in contact with.

    You always beam love!



  7. Nathalie says:

    Sending you light, love and compassion. Hugs

  8. Jill D. says:

    I will send love and light to you and your man. I love your blog and writings. My own lovely man is sick too, with some mystery illness no one can diagnose.
    Be well,

  9. Paula Neves says:

    All the light to you and your lovely man.

    Today I gave yoga class of substitution. Did not know the yoga practitioner. A gentleman of +/-60 years came to me and gave me a warm hug to welcome and then to say goodbye. I was so grateful for this spontaneous and kindness embrace.
    I did recognize how much kindness I needed today.

    I am embrace you.
    bjs > Paula

  10. Jessica says:

    Thinking of and praying for you both!

  11. Cathy says:

    Praying for you both!

  12. Myriam says:

    What a beautiful, heartfelt and genuine love affirming article….I hope your lovely man’s condition is very temporary and that you continue to enjoy of depth of love you feel for him…I’m sure he feels the same for you…life’s biggest blessing in spite of the difficult situation you’re going through…thank you for sharing your story xo

  13. Helen Antebi says:

    Thanks for sharing what you went through with such eloquence and depth of feeling. I am thinking of you and of Pat, sending you healing karma:-)

  14. Elizabeth says:

    Thinking of you and sending positive thoughts!

  15. Judy says:

    I said a prayer for you last night. I wish you and your lovely man strength, health and happiness. God bless.

  16. Lori says:

    Kristin, I just found your blog via Yoga Journal. Your feelings regarding Yoga resonates deeply with me. Yoga is such a part of me, I can’t imagine life without it. My husband and I faced a scare the week before Thanksgiving. A tumor was found on his femur bone. Thankfully it’s something we will just need to watch. My thoughts and prayers are with you. You are an inspiration.

  17. Jody says:

    Thinking of you and hope each day you and your lovely man are touched by kindness.

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