For almost four months, I lay in our master bedroom - pale, dizzy, and dehydrated. Standing up led to throwing up...so I stayed horizontal as much as I could.
The year was 2008 and I was pregnant with our 2nd little girl. As with my first, I experienced severe hyperemesis gravidarum.
There was a knock at our door one afternoon and I barely made it.
Standing there, sheepishly, was a man named Jim Coulter. He and his wife were the parents of one of the students at the high school where I had been a counselor from 2005-2007. We didn't know each other exceptionally well, but they had always been cheerful and generous in goodwill.
He put a package in my hands, "We heard you've been sick." Inside was a meal for my family, plus a can of sprite and bread for me. That was that. He disappeared as quickly as he had come, his hands in his pockets.
He and Cathy came a second time during that pregnancy, unannounced and unexpected. A meal in a bag. A warm smile. I sent them a thank-you note months afterward, when I had a perfect baby in my arms, but I'm not sure they will ever know how much their compassion meant to me. The light in their eyes, the promise that things would be better soon.
They taught me that you don't have to know people well to help them up in their most destitute hours, that it's okay to just show up and knock on the door. In fact, it's nothing short of miraculous. Kindness is, and will always be, a miracle.