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The Kindness of Others: Restoring Faith in Humanity

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All Scripture references come from the King James Version of the Holy Bible (KJV)."

If you struggle at all in the overwhelm of the hate and discontent that this world offers, it may help in restoring your faith in humanity to know that the kindness of others still exists.  In my own life story, we have been on the receiving end of such kindness. Sit back, relax, grab a box of tissues as I share with you an incredible story of the kindness of others. Each step of this story is a great reminder of the love, kindness and compassion of humankind.  It will make you want to step up and reach out to someone that you know, who could use a helping hand.

Back in 2011, I contracted a flesh-eating bacteria called necrotizing fasciitis, which put me in a coma for three weeks, the hospital for three months and resulted in the amputation of both of my hands and both feet.   For all the details, I’ll refer you to my About me page. You may also be interested in my oldest son’s experience in A Son’s Perspective: My Mother’s Amputation Story.  My hospitalization was the impetus that started a kindness-of-others rampage in my life and the lives of not only my family members but each person who participated.

The kindness of others and restoring faith in humanity:  The blessing of prayer

The bottom line was that I wasn’t supposed to live.  Normally, the mortality rate for necrotizing fasciitis is 26%, but as you may know, I’m not normal.  When I asked my sister, Carol what my actual odds of survival were, her exact words were, “Don’t be optimistic, like zero!”

But God!  Yes, we wholeheartedly believe in the power of prayer.  My husband had that faith that will move mountains and he knew without a shadow of a doubt that I wasn’t going anywhere.  He prayed, with faith that did not waiver. Our church came together and prayed. Our sister churches prayed.

Word got out about my illness.  I was in a network marketing business and had made friends all across the country.  They all prayed. At the time, I was part of the local Altrusa community service club and they prayed.  Our community prayed. But God! Yes, our great and wonderful Lord answered those prayers. My 0% chance became 100% chance of survival.  Thank God for the kindness of others and their prayers!

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The kindness of others and restoring faith in humanity:  Maintaining our household

My family pulled together. Mike never left my side.  His work granted him leave under the Family Leave Act.  My children, who were 18, 15 and 13 at the time still needed help at home.  The school granted them leeway so they could be there for Mom and Dad and not deal with the pitiful eyes of watchful teachers.  My family came in from out of town and stayed nearby the hospital. Mike’s sisters and Mom took care of our home and our children were cared for, household  ran and our bills were paid. Other family members helped financially.

That incredible network company I was working with, got the news of my situation.  They provided a hotel suite for my family for the first month that I was in the hospital, until I was “out of the woods”.  All of my friends took up a love offering and sent it our way. There were a couple of friends who manned the notifications so everybody knew what was going on.  When I think about everything that took place, I would have liked to be awake so that I could have seen the extent of the network with the wheels in motion. Because I had a substantial business with that company, my residual income never ceased, which provided more than enough income to cover our household expenses.kindness of others, wooden board, yellow flowers

The kindness of others and restoring faith in humanity:  Our community pulled together

Things started to happen back at home once I was awake and healing and we knew I would be okay.  A ramp was put on in front of our house because I was going to be in a wheelchair. The materials and labor were donated.  To simplify my everyday living a bidet was donated for our bathroom.  A local paving company paved the top half of our driveway so that I could maneuver my wheelchair easily while I was outside.  Thankfully, we had our home built just five years before and the doorways and rooms were all big enough to accommodate my wheelchair.

The amazing Altrusa ladies all chipped in and created a schedule whereby they brought food for my family every single day.  I believe they started in May and didn’t stop until Thanksgiving that year. People I never even met were making blankets for me and sending gifts.   The bank set up a fund whereby anyone could contribute simply by giving my name.

I went into the hospital on April 3rd.  Including the month I spent at a rehab hospital, the day I came home for good was June 17th.  That was one day after Mike and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary. I cried so hard when I  rolled that wheelchair up that ramp and through our front door. I missed my family and our home so very much.

The kindness of others and restoring faith in humanity:  The Wendypaloozathon

Several weeks after I came home, a local gal, who I barely knew at the time, facilitated what we so fondly dubbed the Wendypaloozathon.  She became a good friend since then. This was a fundraiser walk where people came from the community to walk and donate funds for my family.  Over 100 people came out and supported us that day. It seemed like the blessings would never end, and they really haven’t.

You may be thinking, “Holy smokes, girl!  You must be loaded with debt!  Mike was out of work for four months and you were on life support, had kidney failure, a tracheotomy,  multiple surgeries, including amputations, and hospitalized for three months.”  Guess what friends! The answer to that is Nuh Uh! Insurance covered all my medical expenses, including a big ole electric wheelchair and eventually prosthetics.  Family, friends and people we didn’t even know donated to our cause.  We walked away with absolutely no debt at all, when all was said and done! If that isn’t restoring your faith in humanity, answered prayers and the blessings of God, I don’t know what is.

The kindness of others and restoring faith in humanity:  Accepting all of that kindness

I’ve always been one to reach out and lend a hand when I’ve seen a need.  It’s such a blessing to be able to cook a meal for someone, run a friend to an appointment or donate to fundraisers and various causes.  But to be on the receiving end of all of that kindness is a whole different story. It’s definitely a humbling experience.

We learned to be gracious about receiving back in my cancer days.  I’ve always looked at it with a grateful heart. But we struggled with all of that generosity.  We felt that by accepting a meal or money, that my husband, Mike wasn’t able to provide for his family, which was completely not true.  All it took was a simple comment from a friend.  They reminded us that we were robbing folks of their blessings by not being gracious receivers.  When you look at things in that way it puts a whole different spin on things.Denying the gracious gifts of others, robs them of their blessings. Don't be selfish. Be a gracious receiver. Click To Tweet

We recognized our outlook as a pride issue and repented of it. We never wanted to take those blessings away from the kindness of others, so we learned to graciously accept their gifts as they came. For another really great story about being on the receiving end of charity, I highly recommend this super heartwarming post written by my friend, Erin from Lullaby Lark.  It’s called A New Perspective on the Virtue of Charity. You will love it!

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Ideas to continue restoring your faith in humanity

Obviously, my story has given you a really great reminder of the kindness of others.  I believe that people genuinely want to reach out and help others.  It’s easy to get discouraged when you look at all that’s happening in this world.  We have hate, poverty, violence, theft and so many other things going on that if I listed them all this story would take a different spin. So, we need to take our eyes off of the negativity and focus on the positive.

What types of things can you do to restore your own faith in humanity? Here is a list of some great ideas to help you.

    1. Focus on the Lord and His love.  Put Him first in your life. Matthew 6:33 KJV tells us to “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

    2. Start by watching less news, talk shows, etc because they only focus on highlighting the negative.  Why they feel the need to spread that negativity, I have no idea.I believe that people genuinely want to reach out and help others. It's easy to get discouraged when you look at all that's happening in this world. So, we need to take our eyes off of the negativity and focus on the positive. Click To Tweet

    3. Focus on positive programs and stories. Read blogs like this one. I also recommend A Cup of Positivity for positive vibes, health, love, recipes and more, One Lost Coin for finding Jesus beyond the walls, Cheers to Chapter Two for celebrating, learning, sharing and exploring life after fifty and Cheered On Mom for blessings in the hot mess.

    4. Spend some time with your kids.  They look for joy in all they do.  Play, laugh, run, jump and skip. Get away from your cell phone and enjoy their youth.  It goes by so quickly.

    5. Get involved in volunteer organizations.  Spend time helping people less fortunate than you are.

    6. If you don’t have one already, start a gratitude journal.  Write down 5 or 10 things every day that you’re thankful for.  Count your blessings every single day. We all have so much to be thankful for.

    7. Start something positive yourself.  For instance, several years ago, I invited the ladies at church over to the house and we started a weekly lunch and Bible study.  We had a wonderful fellowship and learned some great Bible messages.

    8. Practice random acts of kindness.  For a great post of ideas to get you started, read my 105 of the Best Random Acts of Kindness.

    9. Inspire others by overcoming your own obstacles.  You really don’t realize how impactful you can be by simply sharing your very own story.  One Exceptional Life came into existence because others wanted to know where my hope came from.  1 Peter 3:15 KJV says “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”  One Exceptional Life is my greatest witness for the Lord.

    10. Make a list of inspirational quotes that you can read when you’re feeling discouraged. My 45+ Impressive Inspirational Quotes for Overcoming Obstacles is a great starting point.   It even has a printable with the Top 5 Inspirational Quotes for when you Wake up, in that post. Make sure you grab it!

So, what are the results of our blessings of that sad and emotional time in our lives?  We try to give back whenever possible. It hurts my heart that I cannot do things for others like I used to, like cooking meals, driving to appointments or helping out, in any of the physical ways that I would like.  In fact, now that the kids have moved out and we’re empty nesters, we’re still occasionally on the receiving end of a meal, house cleaning or help with my own appointments.

But we can contribute in other ways.  We can help financially on occasion. We are by no means overly wealthy, but we will always share when we can.  Additionally, Mike is always willing to share his skills when it comes to physical labor or mechanical needs. And of course, we will always pray for those in need.  There’s so much more that I wish we could do. But God knows our hearts. He allows us to help where we can. Being on the receiving end of the kindness of others really does help in restoring faith in humanity.  But being on the giving end contributes even more!

I would love to hear about your stories of the kindness of others.  Please continue the conversation by leaving your stories in the comments below.

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30 Comments

  1. The kindness of others really does help restore our hope for restoring faith in humanity. We can get so focused on all the negative too quickly and lose hope. There are many good people on earth too. Thank you for such a sweet post. It has encouraged me this morning! ❤

    1. Thank you, Donna. I love that the kindness of others can restore faith in humanity. Not only that, but it encourages us to pay it forward and bless more people. May the circle go unbroken.

  2. This is truly a beautiful story of human kindness and sacrifice. Yes, I think it’s not common until there is a need, but I do also believe people want to help. But, ultimately, it is all part of God’s overarching care for people, especially His people. I think of Bible stories about Joseph, Naomi and Ruth, Jachobed and Moses, and others. What a wonderfully caring and nurturing God we serve.

    1. Thank you, Stephen. I agree that we serve a wonderfully loving and caring God. He uses others to step up and care for us when we’re in need. What a beautiful method He gives.

  3. Wendy, I love this post so much. All throughout, tears spilled, my heart jumped for joy, my soul felt awe, and I had chills celebrating with you and celebrating the kindness of others! What’s so amazing is that you had no debt. Praise the Lord! Your tips are powerful, each and every one. I love doing random acts of kindness when I’m going about my everyday life. Even when I run errands around town, I ask the Lord to give me divine appointments with complete strangers who need a smile, an encouraging word, or a helping hand. Most of these have played out standing in line at a store and talking with someone. And when the Lord whispers, “Pay for the lady’s stuff behind you.” My favorite thing about the last one is if I can pull it off without them knowing it was me. Because so many people have anonymously blessed my family in both small and big ways.

    1. Thank you so much, Karen. I was so completely touched by the emotion you felt reading my post. The blessings of the kindness of others were so wonderful because I know that the givers were probably blessed far more than we were. I pray that I can give like they have. I appreciate that you’re so involved in random acts of kindness as well.

  4. Your story is hard to imagine, and I am glad you are doing well!

    My niece was born 2 months early, and I can say that there was a massive outpouring of the kindness of others! Both in those early days, as well as the occasional hospital stays since.

    1. Wow, Aryn, isnt that beautiful? I hope your niece is doing well. It’s remarkable to see such an outpouring of kindness though. Even though the circumstances were hard, it’s a blessing you got to experience that love.

  5. I love the thought that we need to be graciously accepting of the kindness of others so that they might be blessed. Giving people the opportunity to help is something I struggle with as well. Thanks for the post!

    1. Thank you, Lisa. Yes, being a gracious receiver is tough. But once we figured out that it’s a pride problem, we were able to fix it and receive the blessings of others.

  6. Wow, how inspiring! Thank you for sharing especially at a time when we can get very discouraged hearing about all the evil in this world. God is so good, and He compels people to show love in their actions. I love your list and might just start that gratitude journal today! Thanks again for sharing.

    1. Thank you, Gwen. You’re right, God is so good and everything works according to His plan. I hope you start that journal. I think you’ll find it makes a big difference.

  7. Wendy, you are a one of a kind woman! Plus I would sign up for a Wendypaloozathon anytime. Kindness definitely restores our faith in humanity, and it doesn’t matter if we are in the giving or receiving end, the rewards change the lives and hearts of God’s People. Great Post as always and I love that You and I both love to use two VERY Special words…BUT GOD!!!!

    1. Thank you, Angie. Yes, But God! He always shows up when and where we need Him. He leads us in the giving and He leads us in graciously receiving. But God!!!

  8. Your story is one that continues to inspire me. The way God provided in every way is miraculous. The kindness of others – to be His hands and feet in serving you and your family as you lost yours… What poetic beauty. Praise HIM.

    1. Beautifully said, Tiffany. Thank you! God really did provide then and He continues to do so. I love how I can still be the hands and feet of Jesus, even though I don’t have them of my own.

  9. I love your story, Wendy. You inspire me! It’s always amazing to me how easy it is to see the kindness of others when I’m in a really tough circumstance. I need to get better at seeing it in the hills as well as the valleys. Beautiful. Thank you!

    1. Thank you, Jessica. I love how you said we need to be aware of acts of kindness in the hills as well as the valleys. Anytime is a good time to pay those acts of kindness forward.

  10. What a wonderful community of friends and family you have! This was an amazing, uplifting story Wendy! I started purposely looking for ways to perform random acts of kindness- sometimes just a conversation with an elderly person, a smile, secretly picking up a tab for a lone diner, etc. I loved your thoughts on being a gracious receiver as well.

    1. Thank you AnnMarie. I appreciate your generosity in performing those acts of kindness. It’s such a simple act, yet often we neglect that conviction to do it. I’m so thankful that you’re “stepping up”.

    1. Absolutely, Jessie! Let’s be more aware of the kindness of others and perform our own acts of kindness and make this a kinder, gentler world.

  11. It is so easy to start believing that humanity is fading because of all that we see on the news and social media. The truth is that humanity is alive and thriving! If anyone needs to restore their faith in humanity, just look around (and not at the TV)! I love how you dubbed your situation the “Wendypaloozathon”!! I choose to believe that there are more people willing to do good and put others first. And if I believe – then it will be 🙂

    1. I love how if you believe, then it will be, LeeAnn. Yes, there are tons of caring people in the world today and I’m thankful for all of them, whether they impact my life or not, because the truth is, they’re impacting somebody’s life and we need more of that in this world.

  12. Wendy, when I had cancer I had a similar experience. People were incredible. My husband had died the year before so I was alone. After my first major surgery one friend moves in for a week and took care if me, the multiple bags hanging off of me, bought groceries and cooked for me. There was much more but that is just one example of people’s kindness. Loved the post!

    1. Thank you, Fleda. I’m so glad you got to see that kind of kindness in your life, although I’m sorry that it took cancer to reveal the kindness. Your comment reminded me of those who came and stayed with me as well. So many special people.

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