4800 Miles of Kindness

Story by Shelley, North Carolina, USA

I had a life-changing, kind gesture extended to me that I was able to turn around and return in full seven years later.

When I was 39, I decided to start a new life chapter with a move from Portland, Oregon to Asheville, NC.  This entailed a divorce, closing my psychotherapy practice, leaving a home and friends I loved, and driving 2700 miles with a full car and my elderly cat. When I was in Asheville making my decision, I called my younger brother to tell him the news.  Without my asking, he offered to fly from his home in KY and take a week off to do the drive with me and help with my move.  This was one of those “green light” experiences from the Universe, showing me I was making the right decision with this move.  My brother showed me a million kindnesses on that trip, but he also showed me something life changing: his presence, his patient and good-humored help, his love for my crotchety cat gave me the experience that a good relationship makes life easier, not harder.  I was coming out of a marriage that was anything but easy and had left me with a distorted perspective of partnerships being singularly draining and one-sided.

Seven years later, I got the chance to return these exact gestures of love and kindness.  My brother upended his life at 41 to move from Louisville, KY to Los Angeles, leaving a thriving recording studio he created as well as his home, friends, artistic community, and a good deal of relational heartache.  I was so happy to get the opportunity to return his kindness, helping with the loading, the driving, the navigating of an obscenely huge moving truck towing a Prius, his big black dog that sat on my lap the entire 2100 miles, the unloading in LA when the movers didn’t show, and listening to his soul-searching and processing of so many losses and longings.

These two weeks are two of my favorite weeks of my entire life!  The time with my dear brother was priceless and a perfect example of kindness and love coming full circle to heal us both.  Twice.

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