Kindness, Thankfulness: It’s Catching

There has been a whole lot of negative floating around in the ether for a good long while now. I’m afraid that on this Thanksgiving day there are a lot of people who woke up this morning still overcome with fear or worry or anger. We live in tumultuous, impassioned times. Usually I would take time today to tell you how thankful I am for my family, for all the little blessings that I count every single day, but today I thought I’d share something else I’m thankful for this year.

There have been all sorts of reactions and emotions and actions and feelings and words that have been shared during the last month. We’ve seen it all — the good, the bad, and the ugly. And as I was squinting to see the silver lining in all the negative, in all the conflicting news stories that abound, out of the blue I got a note from a spinning friend. We’ve never met in person, we live almost 1000 miles apart and we only “know” each other via email and a common spinning group as she helped me with some spindling questions I had early on. In any case, this fellow fiber artist sent me a message saying something to the effect of, “I know you’ve been interested in trying one out, so I’d like to send you a supported spindle. I have many and I’d like you to have one.”

I hadn’t been looking or asking. She just knew I was interested and, as she put it, she just wanted to do “a good deed.” I replied that I would love to make it a swap, so that she could experience some happy fiber arts mail, too. About a week later, she got a package bursting with fiber (and a few extra little treats) and I received these beauties in the mail…

spindlesTWO wonderful spindles — one Tibetan and one Russian — and a spindle bowl. I’m speechless! And as many of you know, this delivery held are more than spindles, this is a whole new adventure for me as I learn this new skill. For someone like me, it’s a really big deal — kind of like being given a plane ticket to an exotic land. It was an act of graciousness I will forever attach to these tools.

Shortly after, another spinning & weaving friend, offered to send me her mini boat shuttle that she didn’t use anymore. We’d talked about it previously and when I said I was ready to buy, it was in the mail straight away.

shuttleAnd in just a few days it arrived. She sent it, no payment payed yet, but knowing and trusting that I’d get her back as soon as she found the fiber she’d like in exchange. This little shuttle is made of cherry and it’s just beautiful. It’ll be perfect for scarf projects with my new loom. Knowing that I was interested in using it with my next project and getting it to me so swiftly right as the holiday was coming up on us was just so incredibly kind.

If this wasn’t enough, I got a notice the other day that another online spinning friend had nominated me for a Pay It Forward giveaway event in the Maliha Designs Group on Ravelry. And just a day or so later, I had a new pattern in my inbox as our names had been drawn. Sand Layers was the pattern that was selected for me and I am so inspired to spin for it.

And yesterday. Can you believe there is more? There is.

Yesterday as I came back from walking the dog I noticed that my mailbox had a squishy package in it. I immediately felt a mild concern because I wasn’t expecting anything. Could I have ordered something and forgotten about it? That would be worrisome. I opened it and and found a gift wrapped in bright yellow tissue paper tied elegantly with a simple string with a note attached that read, “Just because.”

img_5299How can one person be the recipient of so much kindness? So much thoughtfulness?

The most amazing aspect is that my stories are not outliers. These are just ones that have directly touched my life. Over the last few weeks I’ve seen loads of pay it forward giveaways and programs meant to touch the lives of one or two people at a time. What amazes me about this community of knitters and spinners that you & I belong to is that it’s not just one or two people who are being generous, it’s hundreds, maybe thousands of people who have come out with similar random acts of kindness. This amazing group of men and women seem to grasp intuitively that by taking a step here or there to touch the life of one or maybe two others is all it takes to have an impact in this world. And the kindness, it’s catching.  Through these small acts, lives are connected, good things are shared, and silver linings are rediscovered. These are the small acts that — whatever your point of view — you can’t deny is the type of warmheartedness that helps to make the world a better place, to heal rifts, and to help us all move forward together.

So when I sit down to Thanksgiving with my family this year, of course I am thankful for them, for everything that they are, for everything that they do.They are, quite simply, my everything. But I’m also thinking of the incredible people in the fiber arts community. The friends I’ve made over the years, the kindness in their hearts, and the collective spirit we share always undaunted and working to actively make the world a better place one small act at a time. I am so thankful for the consideration of others and I’m so proud and humbled that the fiber arts community consistently steps-up and proves that this kindheartedness is steadfastly present through it all. For all of my knitting, spinning, and weaving friends, thank you for you and for all that you do!

Happy Thanksgiving to you & yours!