Exactly seventeen days ago, Michael and I received some news that finally made us get off our asses to move out of Chicago. We’ve been playing with this idea basically since we got married, but this and that kept stopping us from actually making the move. But now we’re doing it! In the last two weeks, we’ve put our house on the market, cleaned out a whole bunch of stuff, found a rental house where we’re going, and have sorted through the details of how and when and what and all the rest. Needless to say, it’s been a really busy two weeks, and I’ve been trying to hold my anxiety at bay. But something yesterday happened that made me sleep like a rock last night.
The day started with me in the car, heading to meet a friend at a spinning class. NPR aired an interview with “Jenn from Michigan,” who had opened her home as a foster parent to one of the migrant children separated from his father at the border. The child’s story, told through her experience, was simply heartwrenching. But it was balanced by the incredibly empathetic foster family. What they did to make sure this little boy was clean. Fed. Nurtured for the eight months that he lived with them. How they worked through his trauma at the beginning and everyone’s trauma at his departure. The interview concluded, and I found myself sitting in my car, having parked a few moments earlier, weeping. At the horror that this child had experienced to bring him to the border and the unnecessary cruelty that he experienced at the border. But also at the incredible kindness of the family to try to pick up the pieces and give him a home and show him some love inside a system that had completely failed him.
And just as I turned off the radio, my cell phone pinged with a text message from a wonderful friend who lives out near our new spot. Her father and brother both work as car dealers, and she offered to task them with finding Michael and I a second car on a very tight budget.
My spinning friend found me leaning against my car, stunned at the kindness displayed in the previous ten minutes. Jenn from Michigan. My car dealing friends.
Later in the afternoon, the owners of the house that we had been hoping to rent gave us a call asking how they could best be helpful. There were some questions around furniture and when they should take theirs out so ours can come in that we sorted through. Michael and I got off the phone and looked at each other.
“They’re being so sweet!” I said to him.
“They are.” He responded.
“So, it seems the only thing that we still need is to sort through a car for the three weeks after we leave Chicago and before our stuff shows up.”
“So it seems.”
Literally a minute later, my phone rang. It was our new landlord. “Oh, by the way, I forgot to mention this before, but we have an extra car at the house, so if you need to use that before your car shows up, please feel free.”
The longer I look at this life I live, the more I recognize that humanity’s capacity for kindness is infinite.