Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Kindness of strangers


It was the worst time of my life. My relationship with My Guy was in trouble, and I felt it to the core. I continued to blog, but I kept the topics light and fluffy – I couldn’t write about my heartache openly as it was just too personal. I mostly kept the pain to myself, except for the two women, Cecilia and Stacia, to whom I reached out.

They were strangers. Well, at least I’ve never met them at the time. They were fellow bloggers, and we’ve been following one another for awhile. I felt like I knew them from blog posts that they often wrote from their heart, and because writing was my preferred medium, I chose to write these virtual strangers about my troubles. They were an enormous help, lending perspective and support, even camaraderie, and I was beyond grateful for their insight and friendship. l still am.

But there was someone else. This time, I didn’t reach out to her. She reached out to me.

One day, I left a comment on a post that hit close to home, on a blog that I read regularly. I didn’t mention my situation, but because sadness tends to permeate all aspects of our lives, I suppose it must have painted a grey hue on my response.

That was when the author of the blog sent me a personal email asking if everything was okay. She, who, for all intents and purposes, was also a stranger to me. She, whose name I didn’t even know as she guards her real identity with a lock and key. She, with whom I’d never had a real conversation outside of our comments on one another’s blogs.

I was so moved by her gesture that I felt compelled to open up to her. And I’m glad I did. Because, together with my two blogger friends, our therapist and a book, she was one of the main reasons that my family is still standing here today.

With a few years on me, this woman who I only know as Big Little Wolf, offered wisdom and perspective from her own experiences - ones to which I could easily relate because we shared a similar past. Her emails were long and thorough, as if spoken by someone who was sitting right there by my side. And they were always kind. To this day, some of the things she said to me continue to influence how I approach my relationship with My Guy.

And you know what the kicker was? She was in the midst of her own crisis when she spent all that time writing me, a mere stranger. She is divorced, raising two sons on her own, and she was going through financial hardship when she decided to ask me if everything was okay on my end. Can you believe that?

While that was two years ago, financial troubles in this economy is not easy to overcome. But she is sharp and resourceful, and she hopes to use her incredible writing skills and her blog to get her to a more comfortable place. In essence, she needs readership and fans to secure advertising on her blog because, for a woman raising two children on her own, every little bit helps.

Knowing what she has done for me, I am more than happy to contribute, but I alone can only do so much. And that is why I am asking you, dear reader, to please go to her site, Daily Plate of Crazy, Like her Facebook page, and while you’re there, see for yourself what I always see when I’m there: a woman who offers wit and wisdom, who challenges the status quo, who has style and courage, both in words and in person, who loves Mad Men (and who can blame her?), who is wise, kind, and generous, and who is in need of our support.

It’s not often these days that people reach out to strangers and offer their help, especially when they’re in crisis mode themselves. And yet, she did.

My family is stronger and happier than we’ve ever been because of the kindness of strangers - bloggers who knew no more of me than the words I chose to put on my page. I don’t think I could ever repay them for what they have done for me, for us.

But now that Big Little Wolf is in need of support, I would love nothing more than to contribute to the success she so deserves. To show her that I’m grateful. To show her that I will never forget the kindness she had shown when she reached out to this stranger one January day two years ago.

If you were rooting for us way back when or if you’re a friend who’s happy that the Landed family is together, then please join me in helping Big Little Wolf. All you have to do is Like her Facebook page, and if you’re so inclined, check out her blog and see for yourself this amazing woman who helped save my family.

* * *

When was the last time a stranger surprised you with his or her kindness? When was the last time you helped a stranger? For the latter, help BLW and that answer could be today.

image source: Night work by thomasheylen.