“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” ― Desmond Tutu
I wonder, if we stand on our heads will the world be the right way up? If we close our eyes, will we see more clearly? If we hold our breath, will our hearts do the talking? If we dare to dream, will our reality make more sense? If we let ourselves fall, will we find our feet?
I’m in a bit of a mood.
I’m frustrated with a lot of things right now. My life isn’t where I want it and I’m not sure how to get it there. Writing is hard, and I’m struggling to put these words down in an order that will make sense. All I want to do, at this moment, is quit trying and go watch Youtube for the next fifteen hours. I could do it. Who would care? Who’s going to read this anyway?
Okay, yeah, I caught that one too. Self-pity just crept in for a second. I’m shaking it off and taking a deep breath. If you’re reading this, thanks for sticking with me through this moody writers’ block. I’ve said this before, but you all mean the world to me. Even more so when I’m in this kinda funk.
I’m aggravated by life so, naturally, I turned on the news to make it all better. I watched grown-ups use the doo-doo head offensive in the hallowed halls of politics. Saw babies caged like animals. Civilians are running away from soldiers and militarized police, in my own country, are arresting innocent people on their own land. Land that is constitutionally protected.
Racism in Canada? You betcha! Why? Somethings I’ll never understand.
I watched in horror and defeat because I feel helpless. Life has a lot of grey areas, but some things are just wrong. What’s happening out there? The things I’m seeing on the news? The things we’re doing to each other? The hate we have for each other? It’s just wrong.
After watching the news, I went to twitter to see what people had to say because, surely, rational thought will prevail. Yeah, that’ll cheer me up and inspire me to write something uplifting. It will come as no surprise that rational thought was hard to find and my frustration wasn’t alleviated. The only thing I got out of this reckless exercise in emotional self-destruction was a headache and a deep sense of fearful apprehension.
The world feels like it has turned itself backward, upside down, and out of focus. Madness is seen as reason. Wrong is right. Injustice is sought after while justice is locked away in a cell. We’re told that facts are fiction and fiction is fact. Innocent people are arrested or fired for speaking truth to power. Truth, it seems, is in the eyes of the beholder and, as long as don’t make eye contact, who the hell cares?
Do I even have to ask what the world is coming too?
The real frustration is knowing that we’re all capable of doing so much better but we don’t. There was a trending story, awhile back, that read, “Faith In Humanity Restored.” Someone did something so unexpected it broke the internet. They, wait for it, were kind. They were compassionate. They helped someone who needed it. When did kindness become so rare, it trends worldwide?
We’re all so much better than this, aren’t we? We all have compassion, kindness, and decency inside of us and it wants to run free. Despite all the evil we see, we’re strong enough to defeat it, and we don’t have to clench our fists to do it. So why don’t we just do it? How hard is it to be nice?
Anger is easy and kindness is hard. Compassion requires vulnerability and looking away requires none. Decency should be the easiest of the three, but it still requires some personal sacrifice and who wants to sacrifice anything at all? All three ask us to open our hearts just a crack and let ourselves connect with someone who is so seemingly different. They ask us to look past our fear, our bigotries, and see the human being standing in front of us.
Compassion, kindness, and decency ask us to consider the possibility that the differences we see are covering the things that make us so alike. Who someone loves isn’t important. That fact that they love is so valuable. How someone prays? A walk of faith, no matter the name, is a journey we can take together if we just let ourselves walk it, together. Where someone was born? The colour of their skin? We all hope, dream, and desire a day that’s better than today. Our similarities are so rich, complex, and magical but all we focus on is a dime-store card trick.
I look at the world, the pain so many people are feeling, and I feel helpless. I can’t take your pain away. I can’t unlock those cages or give back the land. It breaks my heart. It’s so easy to let that helplessness turn into hopelessness. When that happens, apathy sets in and I turn away. The second I turn away, I become a part of the problem and without every single one of us, will there ever be a solution?
I was on a hike yesterday and there was this four-year-old walking with his dad. He was fussing and crying. His dad stopped, pulled him to the side to comfort him, but before he could say anything, the boy started laughing. It was a full-body giggle with a joyful squeal. He started jumping up and down. He was so excited and so happy, his whole body shook. He pointed and clapped his hands then squealed in delight. What made him so happy? It was a squirrel, sitting on a log, nibbling on a piece of wood.
It was so innocent, simple, and pure. He was crying, upset, and frustrated but the problem was solved by something so small. When did we give up that innocence? When did we stop seeing the simple wonders of the world? When did we complicate our lives so much they reached the breaking point? When did I let myself turn away from the simple things? I envy that kid, and I wish our problems could be solved so easily.
I know the problems we face aren’t solved by a squirrel but the solution, or our contribution to it, can be something that small and simple. We can’t let frustration stop us from being kind. We don’t have to let our differences become the only thing we see. We don’t have to engage in the hate. We don’t have to let apathy turn us cold. We can engage in small acts of service, compassion, and decency. Most of all, never underestimate the small things because they can make a lifesaving difference in someone’s world.
One life saved might not save the whole world, but it saves us from hopelessness because we did something. We didn’t sit back and watch helplessly. We didn’t turn away because it was too hard to see what they were going through. We had the courage to do the right thing and show someone kindness. The world needs us to have the courage of kindness.
Please, my dear friends, be kind to each other.