I’ll take my kindness where I can get it.

Dear, dear Feastlings,
Here’s the thing about making what started out as a commercial endeavor – the email list- into a near-daily therapy session with an assortment of 4600 amateur and professional therapists on the receiving end of it: it’s the best safety net ever. One of two of you occasionally drop me a line when you see I’ve reached a tipping point (you know, like yesterday,) some calling me on it, some telling me to suck it up and a boatload of you take me under your wing, one after another, and remind me that I’m not alone and we’re all in this together, isolated or not. I still haven’t even had time to respond to all your kind and generous replies, but here’s a blanket thank you for being supportive, of me, of Feast, of all my buddies here, and of people who work at independent businesses anywhere at all.
I listened to a podcast the other day that was truly about people in healthcare, but which I think applies to nearly every facet of of our lives, and so I’m dropping a link to it here, because it feels apropos:

How Do You Cure a Compassion Crisis? (Ep. 444)

And then I’ll tell you a little meandering story, as I’m now apt to do, and I think it will be useful in my therapy session today. Forty years ago or so, when I was an angst-filled high school student (long before I was an angst-filled restaurateur,) my hero was Kurt Vonnegut. I voraciously gobbled up whatever words of his I could, and more than a handful have stuck with me, ironically not technically even his words, but referring to a high school student named John Filger who’d written him:

“He says in his letter that he has read almost everything of mine and is now prepared to state the single idea that lies at the core of my life’s work so far. The words are his: ‘Love may fail, but courtesy will prevail.’

This seems true to me—and complete. So I am now in the abashed condition, five days after my fifty-seventh birthday, of realizing that I needn’t have bothered to write several books.”

-from the preface to Jailbird by Kurt Vonnegut

So here I am today, having had my spirits bolstered by a couple dozen of you, attesting to the value of compassion, or kindness, or courtesy. And I have to say, however rough my days are through this now nine-months-and-undoubtedly-counting ordeal, the days where I feel light aren’t even the days where you all write and show me your compassion. They’re the days where I do it for someone else. Bringing meals to front-line workers, or sheltered-in underprivileged folks, or people experiencing homelessness- it all feels like we’re doing the right thing, but the gratitude I feel in doing it is even better than the gratitude I feel when someone sends me an empathic note after one of my occasional reckless meltdowns.
My holiday gift to you is the reminder that nothing feels like giving that kindness to someone who needs it, so I’m encouraging you to go out and offer yourself a holiday gift by doing something kind for someone. It can be someone you love, or a total stranger, or, if you find yourself able, someone you don’t particularly like at all.
And with today’s therapy session on the page now, I’ll toss out the commercial part of today’s note. You can still sign up for either or both of this weekend’s wine tastings today, and here’s what each one looks like:

Coasting into the finish line

Trust Your Importer with Joanie Karapetian of Rosenthal

You can still order New Year’s Eve treats as well:

Hors d’oeuvres for New Year’s Eve

You can still donate to the last remaining donation run in this series to people who live in one of Commonwealth Affordable Housing’s properties,

Our next series of donation runs

or to other upcoming runs, which will undoubtedly go back to the incredibly strained people working in healthcare here in town (see how I brought it back to healthcare?) and I’ll post about that as soon as I’ve made arrangements with the people we’ll be feeding. Meanwhile, I’ll include a link to the menu, just in case, and leave you with another quote, also apropos of what we’re all dealing with right now, this one from Kurt Vonnegut himself:

“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?: Advice for the Young

May you all develop glorious wings through this.



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