What a year you've had!
First you faced an abrupt killing spree when a hate-filled young man entered one of your churches and killed your people. It's taken a whole summer to grieve and get past that. Believe me; I know.
Then, just this past weekend your city streets were flooded and 9 people were killed. Oh how my heart breaks for you!
As it turns out, I was suppose to be there this past weekend for a job which I turned down because of the rain. I love your city, but somehow visiting the beach in the rain just seems a lot less fun than visiting at any other time…
But y'know… as much as you've gone through, you haven't been forgotten. Us, who live elsewhere in the United States feel for you … deeply. I think that's why, earlier this summer, when visiting I saw not one but TWO Ben's Bells!
Do you know what they are?
They are wind chimes made by a woman who lost her son due to illness many years ago and how she was able to get through the grieving process by spreading kindness and encouraging others to do so as well.
When I saw the first bell, in front of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, and I read the card attached "You have found a Ben's Bell. Take it home, hang it, and remember to spread kindness throughout our world" I could hardly believe it. Surely someone had left the bell on purpose … to honor the fallen or something like that. (At the time, there were a bunch of flowers and cards positioned lovingly in front of the church.) But when I saw the second bell, positioned seemingly in the middle of nowhere, I grabbed it and brought it home with the feeling that somehow these randomly placed bells had some importance.
As it turns out, you can't buy a Ben's Bell. All you can really do is be part of the project and, perhaps someday, become a distributor. I've never seen Ben's Bells in any other city, so it was especially meaningful to see them in Charleston where so much hurt has been caused both naturally and otherwise.
Charleston, Ben's Bells are not being distributed in Atlanta. (Or at least I've never seen them here.) Someone at Ben's Bells knew you, as a city, were hurting and they distributed them there to make your day just a little better – to erase just a little bit of the sadness you have felt and to remind you that others in the world need that same kindness and love.
When I finally hang my Ben's Bell wind chime in front of my house, every time I look at it I will remember the beloved city where I found it and all that you have dealt with in the past year. I will send my well wishes your way, and, if the time ever comes that I can participate and be part of Ben's Bell, you can be assured that I will. Ben's Bell is a worthwhile project that is making a big difference in cities across the US and I am so glad that I now know about it.
Sending positive thoughts as you recover.
• To learn more about Ben's Bells click here. This post was not compensated; it is merely to describe my admiration of the project and city from which I found my first Ben's Bell.