Well, it's been a long hiatus for this Last Leaf. I wish I could say I was off on a vacation, too busy celebrating summer with family and friends or even working myself to death, but that's not the case. I'll preface this by saying that we (the hubs and I) were able to find out that our worst fear, that I might have Lupus, was put to rest. Our health, as challenging as it may be some days, is still relatively good. We just seem to have far more than our share of challenges and they just keep coming. Our counselor commented this week that he truly finds it remarkable that we've managed to keep going through the myriad oddities, or drama as I believe some might characterize it, that happen around and to us, when most people would've thrown up their hands, laid down and given up. It is a lot to take in, and I recognize that it's challenging being around someone who's life is so full of chaos. For those who've hung in there, you have my deepest gratitude. For those that had to walk away, I understand your choice.
One of those people that have hung on asked me the other day how I can be so kind when there's so much negativity around me. While it was a rhetorical question, I felt it really deserved an answer. It's pretty simple really: I live by the Golden Rule. Mind you, I'm an incredibly flawed human, but I have never wavered in sharing kindness. As much as I believe in the Golden Rule, I believe that what you put out to the Universe comes back to you three-fold. This I learned from my paternal grandmother. She may have been a lot of things, but she was very aware that her actions would one day turn on her. So it is that we may seemingly sit back while people in our lives try to tear us down; we do so knowing that their own actions will come back to them. We are not passive; we realize there is a time to take action, however the Universe seems to be teaching us the art of knowing when that time to act is, and how to act that is appropriate to each situation. So, the world around seems to epitomize the tarot's Tower: a tearing down and rebuilding of the most extreme sort.
What I have taken for granted is the fact that being kind is natural for me. It's my instinct. But not everyone has that instinct. I find it really manifests itself in my work as an Archivist. When I receive requests from people for genealogical information, I understand where that person is coming from. I know what it feels like to request information and then have to wait months not knowing whether or not you're going to get anything of value. And, what's more, knowing that the person on the other end might not understand what that 'value' is.
So it was in the beginning of June when I received a request from someone regarding information from the little rural Archives where I used to work. Technically, I'm off the payroll, but as a professional courtesy I told them I would handle reference and research requests as they received them (I'm compensated). The request was an open one: do you have information on Mr. X? I searched the database and found a single folder that have some form of correspondence in it. I drove up to the Archives and pulled the folder: in it was a letter detailing the family business, discussing family members, etc. I grabbed the eight or so names and located other material as well as a half dozen photos from the 1880s of the family members. It's a small collection, and all told it probably took me 15 minutes to pull the material, another 15 to scan it all. I put together a quick email and sent it off. It wasn't 10 minutes before I received the gleeful response: a million thanks for photos of never-before-seen-or-known relatives!! How did I know to look for the others?!! I was the greatest thing since sliced bread!! LOL. I get it. To me it was a simple thing; to the person on the other end, it was a whole new world.
The Universe is a beautifully balanced place. As I've said, I'm very flawed. I've made mistakes small and Everest sized. So I'm aware that these things will return to me. But so will the kindnesses I extend to others. Here's my proof: on June 11, shortly after my Archives researcher received her information, I received a brief email from a woman in the Netherlands. She'd been researching a surname that is similar to one on my tree: WICART. She'd noticed I was mentioned in a blog on Dutch surnames, made the connection and emailed me information and a link to a website: this page has an image that names my ancestor Andres Wersel. We emailed back and forth several more times that day, with my final email asking what repositories I might be able to search to find out more. Then I heard nothing.
Until June 28th. I won't include all the details here; I'll save that for a genealogy specific post. What I will say is that rather than sending me the requested repository names, she included research she did on MY Wersel line at several Archives in the Netherlands. For no reason. It was a simple act of kindness. She included digital images of documents taking me back several generations into the early 18th century. And, as I'm to understand it, she found living descendants of my 4th great grandmother Louisa Jacoba Wicart (Wiekart) in the Netherlands.
At a time when I'm struggling to understand human nature and how some people can be so incredibly nefarious and hateful, this person was the Universe's answer. There is balance. And kindness. I pray that your Scale doesn't tip as far to the extreme as mine does, but if does, remember there is Balance.
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