I have a friend who is a giver. She gives her time, talent, money and all her other resources to anyone and everyone who is lucky enough to cross her path.
But she is terrible at receiving. She readily admits it makes her very uncomfortable when people try to give her gifts, both in the physical form and in the form of praise.
The good news is that she knows this about herself and is working on being a graceful accepter. Call it her New Year’s receiving resolution.
I think being kind is essential to our happiness, but it is also important – perhaps equally important – to accept people’s gratefulness.
Lynae Sims-Boeder, of Kindred, N.D., sent me this letter, hoping to allow the many people who helped her out in a very tough time the chance to be recognized for their kindness.
“It was Christmas Eve morning 2010. Three men and their three grown sons set out on a snowmobile ride with my husband, Kevin, leading the pack. The men were on a piece of land they thought was familiar, but unbeknownst to Kevin, there was a new drainage ditch built during the spring. Kevin hit the ditch going full speed.
“My husband flew in the air and felt his back break. My son, Kyle, speeding up to get to him, hit the same ditch. I soon got the phone call that no one ever wants to receive – the ‘yourfamily-has-been-in-anaccident’ call.
“The Leonard (N.D.) and Kindred volunteer ambulance personnel came to rescue the two men. The snow was incredibility deep, and in Kevin’s words, ‘They worked like dogs to get us onto toboggans and then slowly snowmobile us to awaiting ambulances.’ The process took an hour and a half. Kevin was rushed in for a six-hour surgery, and while both men made amazing recoveries, both had to wear turtle-like braces for several months.
“The fall before the accident, Kevin and I had bought a ‘flood home’ from the Oxbow area with plans to move it five miles west of Kindred. It was transported the third week of January, but when the movers called us to say they were ready to put the house on its foundation, the new basement was full of snow.
“Kevin didn’t know what to do. He called his friends at Sheldon (N.D.) Elevator who offered to be at the lot the next Sunday afternoon.
“I drove Kevin over to the site where we discovered an unusual January thaw had made the snow wet, heavy and soggy. So there we sat in our car, with Kevin in his turtle brace, while 18 of Kevin’s buddies from Sheldon, Enderlin (N.D.) and Kindred, including their sons, manually shoveled the snow from the basement. To watch people do physical labor, only for your benefit, is the most humbling experience.
“There are so many others who need thanking for their kindness that year: our neighbor who kept the driveway of our house clear; our families who took care of everything so I could be at the hospital 24/7; the people who wrote, called, sent flowers, and expressed their concern for Kevin and Kyle; and Dr. Chris Robertson, Dr. John Eickman and everyone at Sanford who kept the doors open on Christmas Eve.
“How does one say ‘thank you’ and let it be enough? We can only say that we will do our best to pay it forward.
“Extending help and kindness is beautiful, no doubt, but to be the recipient of such help is sometimes hard to think about without a tear falling down the cheek and a heart about to burst with gratefulness.” Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at nphillips15@ hotmail.com. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND, 58107.
Nicole Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo, and currently the executive director of Diva Connection Foundation. She is the mother of three kids and the wife of Bison men’s head basketball coach Saul Phillips. Her columns run every Saturday.