Kindness, both knowing and unknowing

ceramic-cup

Sometimes kindness is a cup of tea, shared between friends. Sometimes kindness is the vessel that holds the tea.

Things have been a little less than peachy around here of late. A few weeks ago I was unwell – for three weeks – during which time I also suffered a rather devastating loss of a loved-one. Mr B was overseas for work so I had to deal with the combination of grief, pain and illness while caring for the children on my own, and keeping up appearances – whatever that means – for the sake of the little ones.

It wasn’t easy and I’m not going to lie: more than once I locked myself in the bathroom to cry in private, then rinsed my red eyes and emerged, beaming like a mild maniac, “Who wants to play with play dough?”

I’m not the kind of person who finds it easy to open up or reach out when times are tough and so, as a result, I carried the first week of sickness and sadness entirely alone, before eventually the lump in my throat began to relax and allow me to share.

During that lonely week, completely unaware of anything that was going on, Tommy knocked on my door, bearing the gift of this lovely ceramic cup, made with his own hands.

I first met Tommy in the sandpit of Scout’s childcare centre, where he used to teach the children. He transferred to a different childcare centre not long after that, but we used to bump into him all the time: at a school fete, at the local deli, in the park. And then one day Tommy reached out to me via this blog, and I sent him some mail art (it was this envelope).

Recently he switched directions in career, and is now pursuing ceramics full time. When he knocked on my door that day, handmade cup in hand, it was Tommy’s way of saying “thank you” for the mail art I had sent him way back then.

He could not have known how horrible a week I was having, or just how much his gift could have cheered me in that moment. It wasn’t a small gesture, either. Often I talk about how precious snail-mail is to people because it’s hand-written, tangible, and permanent: I put it to you that there is not much more hand-made or tangible than ceramics.

Thank you, Tommy. I think what you created is beautiful but, more than that, every time I drink my tea from this cup I will be reminded of your kindness, both knowing and unknowing, at a time when I really needed it.

11 comments

  • Ally

    Beautiful story Naomi
    I love the cup (and your snail mail)
    I think it’s the unknowing kindnesses that slay me most ….
    xx

  • Petrina

    I was sorry to read of the sadness and loss and hope
    things are better today.
    – “All that matters is what we do for each other.”
    Lewis Carroll

  • Jen B

    I’m sorry to hear that you have had a rough month. I hope that things are a little better now and that you are feeling healthy.
    I love Tommy’s cup (and some of the ceramics on the link you shared! I had a similar unexpected, moment this week. In the beginning of a chorus rehearsal with 50 girls, this little 5th grader walked in with a rolled up paper and told me “someone told me to give this to you.” I figured it was someone telling me they needed someone or something (it was sad that I just assumed the worst.). When I opened it, it was a beautiful pencil drawing of a dancer. It was drawn by a girl who sang for me who is now at the high school. On the back, she wrote me a really sweet note (and asked me to write her back. I’m converting that entire class to snail mail!). It totally made my day. I’m glad you had a bright moment in your bad week.

  • Kathy

    Naomi, the sharing of your heart is a great gift to all of us and is especially courageous in such a poignant and painful moment. Please know that you have touched many, many people who lift you up from miles and continents away.

  • Sarah Cox

    Oh Naomi, what a beautiful story filled with sadness, but kindness as well. It is such a good lesson to us all to remember that we do not know the battles those around us are fighting and that a simple act of kindness can make all the difference as well. I am so sorry for your loss Naomi, and I do hope you are on the mend physically. Thank you for sharing your story. Much love xx

  • Christie

    Losing a loved one is so awful, let alone having to deal with that loss by yourself while keeping up a façade… I can’t imagine what you’re going through. I’m glad that despite that tough time, there was someone who (without knowing) let a little bit of kindness into your life.

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