You ever have one of those days where you wonder what ever happened to humanity? As in, where did all the kindness go? I’m sure like some of you, you’ve probably had plenty of those moments, especially now a days. I literally had one of those moments this past week where someone close to me was unkind. Which would really be an understatement because I don’t think there is an actual word for the level of meanness that it escalated to. I was asking myself, “What in the world just happened?” or more specifically “I can’t believe that just happened! Like, what in the actual…what?! Are you for serious right now?”
Without going into detail I’ll just say this, it was extremely hurtful and completely shook me to my core. It actually bordered on just plain ridiculous on the lack of kindness, respect, compassion, empathy… you name it. And to be very vulnerable, and I hate admitting it but I bawled my eyes out. I did the ugly cry. I’ve done my fair share of crying this past year but this time took the cake…except there was no cake. Meanness AND no cake?! So rude.
I’m normally not a very overly sensitive person. I usually tend to lean towards trying to be the first not to care so as to avoid being hurt in the first place. But this past year I have found myself to be uncharacteristically more sensitive than usual. Kindness, in general has been something that I’ve been extra thankful for. A random act here, a thoughtful gesture there, a considerate word etc. They’ve meant a lot more to me lately.
This morning in church, I was tired. I had worked till 2am and then by the time I got home and actually fell asleep it was almost 4am. Then, having to get up for band run through at church made me even more sluggish. But since music is something I am very passionate about, I still gladly drag my butt out of bed. Before the service started a few of us were chatting and they knew how tired I was; and that I was craving Starbucks. When I was finished singing on stage and I went to sit down, there was what appeared to be my drink…a Venti Vanilla Java Chip Frappachino! Something I usually save getting for myself after church on my way home on Sundays. Especially if I know I’m going to write. At first I was a little perplexed. Was this for me? I asked the lady sitting a couple seats down if it was hers and she said it wasn’t. I simply replied, “oh…umm…I guess it’s mine then?”, still rather unsure. She simply smiled at me and said “Lucky girl.”
When I finally put two and two together, I realized it really was for me and I sat through the rest of the church service sipping my Starbucks like a happily spoiled little kid. It caught me by surprise that someone would do something so thoughtful for me without even being asked. Which is actually one of my love languages: Acts of Service. When people go out of there way for me to be thoughtful, kind, considerate etc it’s the best feeling! It helped to restore even just a little bit of faith in humanity that yes, kindness still does exist. Even if just in the little things. I find that it’s actually in those little unexpected moments that mean the most and can be the most healing.
I don’t think that this world has ever been so ugly as it is now a days. Even the news has gone from simply reporting facts (remember those?) from the days events to what it is today: one giant never ending swamp of soap opera garbage. It’s actually almost unwatchable and while I admit that I do try to stay up to date on current events, I try to avoid getting sucked into the soul sucking vortex of news media in general if possible. We’ve lost the ability to simply be NICE!
The person who gave me my Starbucks this morning (I think I know who it was), has quite a story themselves. They’ve been through some real personal tragedy and heartache in their lifetime. But somehow, they haven’t lost their ability to smile, to be kind and thoughtful. As hard as their life has been, they haven’t allowed bitterness to take root or the ugliness of life to take away their joy and their willingness to serve others. A lesson we can all learn. Myself included.
It can be a lot easier sometimes to allow the ugliness of life to seep in and control our thoughts, our words and/or actions. It starts as just a small seed that gets planted and if it’s not dealt with early on, can take root, grow and choke out all the beautiful things about you. When someone is unkind, it’s usually because they themselves have been hurt and instead of dealing with it in a healthy manner, they’ve allowed it to fester and grow until what initially started on the inside, has now made it’s way to the outside through their words and actions. It turns it’s victims into a prisoner of their own making.
Regardless of what is going on AROUND you, you don’t have to allow it to get INSIDE you. A large ship that is out at sea and being tossed around by the waves still manages to stay afloat. Why? So long as the ship doesn’t take on water it’s most likely to survive the storm. That’s not to say that the journey isn’t rocky or won’t cause your stomach to feel like it’s doing gymnastics, that’s to be expected. But overall, you’ll tend to endure till the end and wake up on the other side of the storm relatively unscathed. It’s the same thing in life when things get rocky.
We have a choice. We can allow what is happening around us to get on the inside, ultimately leading us to our demise, or we can do what is hard but also necessary if we want to not just survive but THRIVE and that is to be kind. To choose joy. To make someone’s day with a small gesture that they weren’t expecting that restores their faith in humanity.
Don’t allow someone else’s ugliness to get on the inside and make you ugly as well. Because when you do, they win. And that’s not the goal. We want the end result to eventually be that kindness wins! Kindness softens hearts that were once made of stone. Kindness turns that frown upside down. Kindness restores peoples faith. Kindness gives hope that perhaps things really will get better.
So SMILE gosh darn it!! Be NICE!! In the end, it’s all that matters.