Put good into the world.
That's the guiding principle I try to live by, and the main value I want my kids to remember. It may sound naive and idealistic, but I want to leave this world a better place than I found it.
While that's a great lifetime goal, the day-to-day application of it can get really hard. Despite the sign hanging in my kitchen, I am not always nice. I can easily forget what I so dearly need to remember when I'm dealing with long-division homework and whining kids who don't want the dinner I made and a sore lower back and clumps of dog hair under every chair leg.
But as I said before, Newtown has touched a nerve so raw and so maternal, I can't help but be back on task, reporting for duty. I, as well as all of you, are all about the G into the W.
I thought I was done writing about Connecticut, but then I read this lovely comment that related the 28 deceased in Newtown to the 26 miles of a marathon. It's from Nikkei Meline, and it's a reaction to the post I wrote about Help, how Anne Lamott prays. (You can read Nikkei full piece on her blog, Latter-day Runner.)
For me, running and faith are different sides of the same coin. I pray and mediate during most of my runs. I am dedicating my next marathon (Newport, OR 6.1.2013) to the 26 innocent people killed inside Sandy Hook Elementary. 26 people. 26 miles. Instead of writing pacing splits on my arm, I will write 26 names. And after I cross the finish line, I will walk two more miles (I will run them if I can); one for the shooter, and one for his mother. I invite all marathoners to do the same.
And then another mother runner alerted me to the movement another Ann started: #26 acts. Ann Curry, another Ann I secretly have a girl crush on, began a small healing revolution when she asked everybody to commit 26 Acts of Kindness (or 20 or 28 or however many you feels right to you). And although the grace you produce will ripple through the universe, it might just hit you--and the funk you might be in--the hardest.
Ann Curry writes: I know the truth: if you do good, you feel good. It’s the most selfish thing you can do. Right now, this country wants to heal. I think the only thing comforting in the face of a tragedy like this is to do something good with it if you can. Be a part of that wave.
I don't doubt that you mother runners are already a kind, thoughtful, loving bunch, but I don't have to tell you we a little restoration of our faith in humanity, in the goodness and kindness that people inherently have. So instead of us doing a giveaway today (which, truth be told, we didn't have planned), we want you to put good into the world. We want you to commit an act or 3 or 26 of kindness.
If your mind is immediately drawn to financial kindness, rest assured: so is mine. And if you happen to be bleeding money, as my family is this month (double car issues; plumbing issues; dog-eating-shoes issues; can't-plan-well-for-holiday issues), I want to reinforce that you don't have to spend a dime to be kind.
Here are a few ways that don't involve cash:
—Ask a friend who you know isn't in the best emotional state to go for a walk or run.
—Pick up any litter you see on said walk or run.
—Offer to babysit for a pal so she can get some kid-free errands done.
—Smile and use your manners at times and with people you normally aren't inclined to.
—Ask a teacher at school if they need any help cutting shapes or organizing or reading to the class.
—Go walk a dog at the Humane Society.
—Let a car or two ahead of you in during rush hour or a person or two in front of you at a grocery store rush hour.
—Before you immediately spit out "no" when your kid asks to play Wii for another 20 minutes or drink a Sprite, pause and surprise him and say yes.
—Mentally dedicate miles of your race or run to people who are suffering. Send them light, love, energy.
—Write a letter to one of your old teachers or mentors, thanking them for the role they played in your life.
—Volunteer at a race: slice oranges, hand out water, cut off timing chips.
—Put household stuff you're not using up anymore on Freecycle. (Just no used capris please. If you need to know why, check the TMI post on yesterday's Facebook.)
And there are, of course, plenty of ways to spend just a little to give back a lot.
There are oodles of ideas on this website, but I'm confident you intelligent, creative women can come up with plenty on your own.
Here's my challenge for us mother runners: can we amass 1,000 comments--a number we regularly get for, say, a Garmin or a great outfit giveaway--on one act of kindness you will do shortly or did recently? And if you want to get in on Ann Curry's movement, tweet her @AnnCurry with the hashtag #26Acts.
So mother runners, what acts of kindness are you going to giveaway for yourself, for your community, for our world?