The pandemic has taught me about the importance & value of tiny acts of kindness amidst a sea of divisiveness.
I’ve always been an “in my feelings” type of person. ALL of my relatives and close friends will vouch for this fact. Unfortunately, being in my feelings all the time is an exhausting way to live. Sometimes my feelings fueled me to run and to continue running until I could make active steps towards unraveling injustice. Other times it just plain wore me down. I suspect many of you feel similarly.
It’s hard to see babies ripped from families, homes blown up, cars wrapped around trees, and other stories of death and destruction. It's HARD to be a human being right now and retain your humanity, because there is SO much pain. I understand all of this tragedy is part of life and that there is no rhyme or reason to any of it. But over the past view years, I’ve noticed an uptick in how we collectively respond and it’s breaking my heart. Some days (like today), I want to curl up in bed and just cry. I want to rage and scream and type capital letters in all the comment sections. BE NICE, PLEASE. BE SMART, PLEASE. BE KIND, PLEASE.
Be kind, please. Before you call out the media, or spread vitriol about the protestors, or lament about wearing masks – pause for one moment and think about the people gathering information and doing their jobs. Do you believe all journalists, health directors, medical workers, government officials (and the list goes on) are lying to you? I hope not. I can’t live in that place of fear, it will consume me and steal my joy. It has consumed me and stole my joy too many times.
Instead of questioning everything, I’m thinking of how I can help, of what I can do in my tiny sphere of influence to change the world. And this is a radical notion – to trust and to live out selflessness and love. To remember that although information shifts, fear grows and fear will steal from you in vicious ways.
Now, I don’t mean wring your hands and pretend nothing is happening. I don’t mean using statistics to argue away the fact that massive amounts of people are dying, that tricking yourself into believing that one precious life gone from this world (or hundreds of thousands of lives in the case of the pandemic) don’t matter, because it doesn’t affect you. In the age of the internet, we all have choice about what to believe. I choose to believe in you, in your goodness, in your kindness, in your humility. I believe in your ability to listen to your gut. You know what’s right, deep down there in your gut. Trust that more than the pundits, more than your righteous anger, and your fear of losing your “rights”.
We were meant to live our lives without fear, but we are also meant to live in community with one another. I know we drum on to the beat of an individualistic mindset in this country. But the hard truth is, none of us ever pulls up our bootstraps and does anything alone. But we all do beautiful things when we come together. And as we social distance, we can use social media to collectively band together, to link arms, and extend kindness.
Live your life like that – send out little care packages to friends, tell somebody you appreciate their sacrifices (words are incredibly powerful), cast aside your beliefs for something more real – extending a hand to help, not hurt. The world is so broken, let’s build bridges. We can do hard things.