I almost bailed on this tonight, it’s been a bear of a workweek (oh, geez, is it only Wednesday?), and tomorrow, on top of everything else, I’m getting quotes on new floors, which means the general mayhem that is my house needs to be wrangled into submission tonight. But I figured we really needed this and I would squeeze it in before the bad news continues.
So here is your mid-week deep breath.
This just made me smile:
@jimganoza #cat #opening #door #gatto #gatos #smart #catsoftiktok #kucing ♬ original sound – jimganoza
From Salt Water, a sweet story of a young girl’s mission to bring a little joy to kids in the hospital:
Her website is here.
When you just want to help out a stranger:
And finally, from Steeplejack:
This summer I had a tweet go viral that was funny and all, but resulted in a lot of harassment. The kind where people threatened my kid, tried to get me fired, made me get a police lookout at my house, and involved the global security team at my company.
— Amber Naslund (@AmberCadabra) February 11, 2022
Mostly these moments bring out the underbelly of the internet.
Occasionally they bring out the best of it. Or the best people, anyway.
Yesterday was one of those days.
I don’t remember what day I turned on the dumb business profile thing on Twitter but it was ages ago and, frankly, I’d forgotten it was even a thing.
Who “tips” people for random blathering on the internet? I certainly didn’t remember that I’d enabled it. Until yesterday.
I woke up and had coffee and as I usually do, flip through my Gmail which is not an account I often check. It’s mostly marketing emails and some other stuff.
Then I saw a notification from Venmo. For a thousand dollars.
I had the same reaction.
Surely this is a scam or a fraud or whatever and I rushed to figure out how to change my password.
But nope. There was a name and a face I recognized alongside a heartfelt and astonishing note imploring me not to think too much about it but to accept the gesture.
After a few notes back and forth, I realize this is another kindred spirit in the world, trying to do something a little remarkable, in a small quiet moment, with zero expectation in return.
He asked only that I pay it forward when it could.
Which happens to be…immediately.
I don’t need his gift financially. I want for nothing and that’s why at the start, the whole thing felt so awkward.
But then I realized something amazing. This isn’t for me.
Them, today, is the people I chose to help. For me in the moment it was a few families I know personally who have struggled during the pandemic. No grandiose charity. Just some money for school things for their kids.
They may not be able to pay that forward. Yet.
But next time, when they have it, they will give $5 or $29 or $288 to someone who needs it without a grand plea. And that few dollars will help someone find a few dollars more that they give to someone else, still.
That thousand dollars has an entire life of its own now.
One person’s grand gesture becomes a few small ones that grow and seed and restore faith in the tiniest of increments that are not wild and bombastic but quiet and honorable.
Gentle. Practical. Real. Restorative.
I did not need that thousand dollars today. But someone else did. A few someones, as it turns out.
And someone gave it to me so that I could give it to them.
And this is how we heal.
There are a thousand ways we can tear one another apart. I feel it. Hell, on occasion, I participate in it. I have anger too. And sadness. And fear.
But I also have hope.
Hope we can find small ways to show each other that we haven’t given up. That other people matter to us, that we care about what happens to them.
That we haven’t abandoned everything that makes us soulful. That we still believe in community and collective humanity.
I’m not changing the world here. I’m not a savior. Neither is he.
But maybe we can be small patrons of something good. And I don’t know much about much, but it seems that all the best good starts with the smallest of it.
The only reason I’m even telling you about all of this is to say that I was humbled today by the sheer unadulterated generosity of someone I don’t even really know who wanted only to do something good and kind in the hopes I was the kind of person who would do the same.
So I gave away that thousand dollars as fast as I could.
Almost instantly. With glorious abandon. With the joy that only comes from giving with zero expectation and boatloads of hope.
I hope he sees this and knows he did something beautiful.
And I hope maybe seeing this will inspire you to do the same today. Small or big. Doesn’t matter.
No one is coming to save us. But maybe, if we try, we can save each other.
That’s it for this installment. Here’s your weekly critter update. Can you believe she’s 5 months old?
More photos of her and Scout here and a little Willow here.
Funny story, and I am trying to get video for you, I swear. Nick (male duck) has been harassing Trixie. A lot. Today I was working at my computer and out of the corner of my eye, I saw white blurs. I looked outside to see Nick chasing Trixie all around the yard. Wings out, webbed feet flying, and Trixie looking behind her like she knows the beast is fast on her heels.
I have no idea how to solve this problem. But later when he was biting at her as she drank water, I went outside and snagged him and gave him scritches. Not his favorite thing, so I’m hoping it works as a deterrent if I can catch him at it and give scritches. Rinse, repeat until he equates the two. Otherwise, as funny as it is, I’m afraid she will think his chasing her is play and she’ll turn around and chase him, forgetting her size.
Drakes, they are APITA.
And this…this man. His angel wings must be hidden, his deeds sure are not.
Also: Adam has a Ukraine post coming up in a little bit. I have to get back to work. I’ll check in a little later.
This was the “kindness” moment this week that really struck me:
Ukrainian soccer pro Roman Yaremchuk plays for Benfica, a top club in Portugal. This is what happened when he came into the match on Sunday. (Teammate gave him the captain’s armband as a symbolic gesture.) Sound on!
I admire WCK and all their work so much.
I saw that last night. Tough to hold those tears back.
One of the Many Jens
I am really grateful to you TaMara for putting these threads up, and Steeplejack, I am very grateful to you (and your benefactor) for making me cry some needed good tears today!
One year ago today we found our beloved pet English Spot rabbit hippity hopping around the picnic spot where we were celebrating a family birthday. He was being keenly observed by a couple of owls, and mainly stayed under cover of bramble, but when he saw that we had noticed him he approached and began an impressive routine of bunny binks. We didn’t know exactly what was going on at the time, not being familiar with rabbits at the time, but his dance routine won our hearts and we decided to relieve the owls of their evening repast.
@One of the Many Jens:
Amber Naslund is the hero! I just forwarded the tweet thread to TaMara.
Dorothy A. Winsor
By Danusha Laméris
I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
have my seat,” “Go ahead — you first,” “I like your hat.”
A Good Woman
Long, long ago in a parish far, far away my father, a Catholic convert, spoke to the pastor about his inability to contribute more at Mass. The pastor told him “you are raising a family and you need to take care of them. There are people who are contributing far more because they can. One day, when you can contribute more, do so for that struggling family in the parish.” Yeah it’s not accurate but the sensibility is there. My Dad never forgot that advice and he put it into action many years later when finances were much better.
One of the Many Jens
@Steeplejack: Ahh, reading comprehension fail. Well, I am grateful to you for forwarding it, as well as Amber for living it!
@Steeplejack: I AM CRYING
It just struck me that, even though he’s a big-time pro athlete, he’s also a kid (age 26, I think) in a strange country a long way from home when things are going to shit. It was a tremendous gesture from the Portuguese fans, and I hope it wasn’t just symbolic.
Inorite. Still chokes me up.
I love Scout’s purple collar! Very elegant.
Thank you for those lovely stories, Tamara, and thanks to the commenters for theirs. I definitely need to be reminded that humans are capable of grace and kindness, and these fill the bill beautifully.
The players’ faces made it seem absolutely heartfelt and genuine. It was a rare, beautiful moment.
ETA Just watched it again. He was fighting back tears. ?
What breed is your horse, Appaloosa?
Also Ukrainian soccer player being turned into a blubbering mess by Portuguese fans has opened the floodgates for me. Zelensky and the other Ukrainians have melted my heart. I’m so worried for them and baffled by the broken promises of planes.
@Dorothy A. Winsor:
That is wonderful. Thank you for posting it.
@Dorothy A. Winsor:
Oh, those final three lines! ?
Thank you for this. I have been trying to avoid news today, but I always have time for good news.
@Steeplejack: And who knows what he will have to go home to?
@Dan B: What happened? There has been so much reporting, the planes are on the way, they aren’t…
One of the Many Jens
@Dan B: Folks just got ahead of their skis a bit. It’s a problem with doing so much of this over social media, during chaos, with a lot of internal and external limitations. It may yet happen – it isn’t completely nixed. Here’s the latest I’ve seen: https://newlinesmag.com/reportage/is-poland-sending-fighter-jets-to-ukraine/
@Dorothy A. Winsor: Thank you.
Thank you for this. It is so easy right now for me to slip into a very dark place and believe that the whole world is an evil place even though I know objectively it isn’t.
That’s the most clear-eyed assessment of what’s to come that I’ve seen yet.
@Laura Too: I just had a massive cry, and I feel better now. I let go of sadness, and now hopefully I am resolved.
The past several years have been so hard for everyone, including all of us who remember your uncle.
@Dorothy A. Winsor: This is one of my favorite poems. Thank you for posting it!