About a year ago, just a few months after we opened, I was contacted on Facebook by a very old friend from high school. She and I were not great friends in high school, but I would call us friends. She was a year older than me so we didn’t have as many opportunities to get to know each other. After she graduated I only saw her a few times in 25 years and I probably haven’t seen her since 1989 or so.
When I opened the gym I didn’t want to be pushy with my old friends and bug them to come support my endeavor. However, several old friends have contacted me and wished me well – people I haven’t seen or heard from in decades. Some of them said they wanted to give it a try, but very few actually came and tried a class and I didn’t want to be pushy with people I hadn’t seen in 25 years, so I have always encouraged people to give it a try, but never more than once or twice.
She contacted me by Facebook and was very sweet – she said she was proud of me and my endeavor and she really wanted to give CrossFit a try. She said she really needed to make some changes in her life and she thought this might be a good start. I told her how much I appreciated her contacting me and I encouraged her to come try a class, but I left it at that. A month later she died of a drug overdose.
I had no idea what was going on in her life – I hadn’t seen her or heard from her since High School. But it turned out she was in a bad place and she knew it. Sending me that one little message was her way of reaching out. And, like me, she probably didn’t want to push and she probably didn’t want to bother and she probably felt insecure about what was going on in her life. So she didn’t push either.
I wish she had. I wish she had said, I’m in a really bad place and I really need some help. I wish she hadn’t let the fear of being judged or the fear of doing something new and different or the fear of failure or whatever it was that stopped her get in her way. I wish I had pushed and I wish I had called her and I wish I had said, get your butt down here and let’s make the changes you need to make.
When I started taking Martial Arts a few years ago I learned about John Mariotti’s Acts of Kindness program. He required 15 Acts of Kindness written down for every belt test. That’s 15 for whites, 30 for yellows, 45 for greens, 60 for blues, and 75 for the reds. A black belt requires 300 Acts of Kindness written down. By the time you achieve your black belt you have completed almost 1000 Acts of Kindness. Students must write them down so that it is a conscious effort. From this students learn that they can be kind – they have kindness within them. They also learn that kindness is needed in the world and that they can make a difference. They learn how important kindness is in the world – that every act of kindness makes the world a better place. I have seen simple Acts of Kindness change people and change the world.
Now, I know that her situation was probably way out of my league and I may not have been able to help much, but I also know that kindness is an amazing thing… a simple word can completely change a person and how they are coping. A simple phone call may have given her that tiny spark of hope that made her have a great day that made her decide to make one good choice for herself that may have altered her story.
So, I want to say to each and every one of you out there… Get your butt in here! Call me. Send me a note on Facebook or an email. I’m not a therapist and I may not be able to solve your problems, but I will be your friend and I will help you make some positive choices in your life that can help you be the person you want to be. I will offer kindness.