The ‘To Do’ List
by Kristi Jo Jedlicki
I am busy. You are busy. Everyone is busy. We are all busy. For every item I take off of my ‘To Do’ list, I add two more to it, and I know that I am not alone in this. Recently, though, in the midst of whittling away said list, I had the opportunity to add ‘kindness’ to my list.
As I entered a local business, I was on a mission to complete an errand in record time, in order to squeeze in one more task before an appointment later that morning. As soon as I walked through the door and saw a familiar face behind the counter, I cringed and glanced at my watch. This particular clerk is given to chatting . . . a lot, which coming from me, speaks volumes, as I am known for being a chatterbox myself. Sure enough, she greeted me and then launched into one of her stories.
I smiled, nodded politely, and kept trying to extricate myself from our conversation as quickly as possible without being rude, but she continued to talk. As I inched my way closer and closer to the door, she finally concluded her story and began to bid me farewell. I had one foot out the door, when she said, “Tell your mom ‘hi’ for me”, and I promised her I would. With that, she said, “You know, you are so lucky to still have your mom.” With that, I stepped back into the store and mentally put my ‘To Do’ list to the side.
I acknowledged that I was indeed fortunate to have my mom, especially since I had just come from the funeral of one of my best friend’s mother earlier that morning. With that, the clerk’s eyes filled with tears, and she explained that a few days earlier had marked the anniversary of her mother’s death. Even though her mother had died decades ago, the pain was still there, and she shared a few of her favorite memories of her mother and advised me to cherish every moment with my mom. As I prepared to leave the store once again, the clerk wiped the tears from her eyes and said, “Thanks for listening to me. I don’t get to talk about my mom much, and when I do, it makes me feel closer to her and not miss her quite as much.” I brushed away my own tears, as her grief and thoughts of my mom had touched me, and I thanked her for sharing stories of her mom with me.
As I headed to my appointment, my thoughts kept going back to that brief conversation. What had been an interaction that I initially dreaded, ended up being one that I now cherished. In that moment, she was no longer a clerk, she was daughter mourning her mom, and I was no longer the customer, I was a human being taking the time to lend her an empathetic ear. I may not have decimated my ‘To Do’ list that day, but by adding that simple act of kindness to it, I was reminded that no-one is ever too busy to be kind. I plan on adding more ‘kindness’ to my list and to the lives of others each and every day.
Author – Kristi Jo Jedlicki resides in Kentucky, where basketball, horses, and bourbon reign supreme, and not necessarily in that order. She says she is “a perfectly flawed southern girl who dreams big and has stories to tell. I am simply myself, and I am many things to many people, including, but not limited to:
- a better ex-wife than wife
- a mom to two extraordinary daughters
- a southerner raised by Yankee parents
- the youngest of three daughters, who puts the fun in dysfunctional
- a loyal friend to a diverse cast of characters
- a social worker
- a writer and blogger
- an avid lover of music of all sorts
- a big dreamer, despite living through some nightmares
- a pessimistic optimist or an optimistic pessimist
Kristi is also the writer and keeper of the That’s Another Story blog, which she hope entertains, educates, and/or encourages at least one person along the way, as she strives to change herself and the world one day at a time.