Fast Focus: Surrounded by love

December 23, 2012 

-- LISA RICHWINE, Kennewick

I'm not certain that there are "random" acts of kindness. "Kindness" has been on my mind for a few months, ever since I overheard my niece tell her 2-year old that she needs to be "kind and gentle" with her baby sister. I don't think we're born kind. I think most of us have to work at it and then learn to recognize it in others. Here's a smattering of the kindness that's happened in my sphere lately:

-- Monday's massive windstorm uprooted and toppled a much-beloved willow tree in my mother's front yard. After posting the pictures on Facebook, I received many comments from friends and family members across the country who offered words of sympathy and their own memories of the tree. It may seem rather silly to be that attached to a tree but it's so comforting to know that I'm not the only one.

-- I'm part of a board that's on a mission to prevent child abuse and neglect in our community. At our meeting the other day I looked around the table and saw several retired educators and community members still passionate about making a difference, including one in her mid-80s and one who's recently had heart surgery.

-- The elementary school my niece and nephew attend has a posse of dads who volunteer there -- they call themselves "The Watchdogs." On Monday morning, some 30 Watchdogs gathered at the school to greet the kids as they arrived and thereby created a fortress of compassion and security three days after the Newtown, Conn., tragedy. I hope someone got a picture of that.

-- I have a friend who will soon visit her birthplace of Laos to continue the work she started several years ago -- refurbishing the school she attended as a child. I recently reminded her that when we first met 20+ years ago she told me she would never return because Laos is a communist nation. When I asked what changed her mind, she simply said, "I have a project."

How blessed am I to be surrounded by such "random" acts.

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