Some people may not have much faith left in society and their fellow man-kind, but I certainly do. I’ve seen it demonstrated to me personally time and time again, and every act of kindness fills me with warmth and love and gratitude, and lends me the strength to go another day. I’ve had help along my journey, and people continue to help me. Sometimes I do ask for help, if somewhat reluctantly─hey, I got my pride too! but in all seriousness, I know when to ask for help and so I will…if I have to. But sometimes I don’t ask for anything at all and I am surprised with a generous act of kindness bestowed upon me.
This is the story of one such random act of kindness.
I have some issues with my feet. I’m flat-footed, and while I was in basic training for the Army─back when I was fresh out of high school─I broke not one-but several of the bones in my right foot. I was put in a cast and discharged from the military with an uncharacterized discharge. The bones healed and the cast was removed and I continued on with my eighteen-year old life. But the foot was never the same; when I waitressed (that’s what I did at that point in my life) long days or nights that foot and ankle would get so sore! Once I finally sat and relaxed at the end of the day the tendons in my foot seemed to seize up and I couldn’t walk without limping, and I wasn’t even 20.
That went on for years and because the left foot was continuously trying to compensate for my bad right foot, I developed some soreness in the left ankle as well. It always seemed to be worse in the springtime, after a long lazy winter when all of a sudden I was outside raring to go again: gardening, digging, planting and pruning…and at the end of the day I’d be satisfied from my labors, but sore and limping once more.
Over the years I eventually learned that staying active in the first place really helped to keep the muscles in my feet strong. Practicing yoga helped to work out the tendons in my feet and legs too; but good footgear really has been the key to saving my poor little hardworking feet.
Even still, knowing that I needed sturdy footgear with arch support that could take the wear and tear of a farming lifestyle, I’ve never spent more than $25 to $50 on shoes. I own a total of 2 pairs: a pair of lightweight sneakers and a pair of hiking boots. I paid $3 apiece for them at the St. Sebastian thrift store in Madison.
The hiking boots see much more use, and it showed in their condition; the soles were coming apart from the rest of the shoe, there were holes where the seams were giving way, and somehow my feet had begun to swim inside them. It was time for a new pair of boots.
So I went into Reny’s and for the first time EVER in my life I picked out a pair of footgear that was priced over $100; these were quality Timberland waterproof leather hiking boots and I went and put them on layaway there. I was pleased as punch with myself for making such a commitment to─well to myself. Afterall, how can I get all the hard work of farming done if I don’t take care of myself, and your feet are a pretty important part of the body for accomplishing most labors, lol.
I dutifully went in every week after getting paid by the orchard, and put another $20 on the layaway balance.
But these last few weeks with the added expense of heating this big old farmhouse, and now living and farming on just one income, I’d been struggling to pay even a small amount on the layaway. The balance remained at $64.44 and my boots remained in the basement at Reny’s…
Then out of the blue yesterday I received a call from Barbara at Reny’s. At first I was afraid that she was going to tell me that my payment was overdue and that I was at risk of losing my boots! but instead Barbara said that a certain “Santa Claus” had come in and paid the remaining balance on my layaway. I could pick up the boots anytime.
Can you believe it! Some blessed guardian angel paid the $64.44 so that I could have my new boots!
Only a handful of people knew about these boots and the layaway, so I have my suspicions as to who it could have been. And to that person I say thank you so much, from the bottom of my humble heart. Thank you.
That is the story of how one random act of kindness affected me. And that’s just one example─I have other stories of how people have generously helped me out along the way. I only hope that I am deserving enough of their good opinion of me.
If you watch the news or even the facebook newsfeed, there’s a lot of negativity out there in the big wide world. It’s easy to focus on the bad events, horrific shootings, bombings and war, drug abuse and crime. Even in our day to day, mundane lives, it’s easy to focus on the negative, when we really have so much to be thankful for, and little random acts of kindness like this one happen every day, all over the country, and all over the world. I’ve seen it. lived it. and on more than one occasion.
It’s random acts of kindness like this one that lend me to believe that most people are good at heart. This is why I still have faith in society. And why I do what I do─for the Somerset Beekeepers, the Madison Farmers’ Market, and as a farmer and environmentalist. Kind actions and generous hearts spur me on and encourage me to share the love and hope that I feel in my own soul.
This week I was able to wrangle heating oil and firewood to keep the pipes from freezing and to keep me warm too. I was able to pay my car payment (only 3 left now!), and I am eager to be going back to the Somerset Abby this Sunday for another of our Farmers’ & Artisan’s Winter Market. I’m thankful just to be alive, to be here on this farm, and to have the opportunity to make the most of every day.
And I am especially grateful today for my new boots. They fit my feet like a glove! I picked them up after work today, before returning home to the farm; Murphy and I can scarcely wait to take a walk this weekend down through the pastures!