I have been notably absent from my blog lately. Mostly because I’ve been very busy, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I’ve also been wrestling with how to be relevant, and even respectful, when faced with the daily barrage of heavy-duty shit going on in the world right now.
We are at a time in our history when the word ‘enough’ has never been more loaded. I love this word. It’s one of my favorite decorating mantras and until recently I didn’t realize how powerful and important this workhorse of a word really is. It can shout our frustration over the supersized greed and failed capitalism that has devoured our middle class. It can serve as a battle cry over the deafness of our wildly dysfunctional government. It can express our collective anger at a racial divide that is bordering insanity. And it can contain our fear that civilization is tragically and spectacularly coming unglued with every new and unspeakable act of global violence. Whether whispered or screamed “enough” carries the weighty demand that we stop, look, listen, and process what is happening around us. It can manifest in a petition, a legal action, a demonstration, or a prayer, but what it seems to want is action. And I find myself wondering what I alone can do?
It’s a scary time. There’s so much uncertainty that it’s hard to know whether to tune in or turn off. Both have their price. I know I have days where I’d much rather bury myself in fabric swatches than even look at the news, but we all know that denial and world blindness is not the answer. Been there, done that. And with the enormity of the problems it feels almost wrong to go about our business every day. It’s easy to feel that if you can’t go big you should just go home. I say, not so fast.
I think there is something that we can do, every day, that does make a difference. It’s called kindness.
Every single day we come in contact with strangers and people we don’t know very well and each interaction is an opportunity. An opportunity to keep a safe distance and be comfortably numb, or an opportunity to perpetuate kindness and make a connection to another human being who, like us, is just trying to get through their day. In the past few days alone I picked up a woman’s fallen cane in line at Best Buy, gave a very healthy tip to the guys at the car wash, said goodbye, by name, to the assistant of my carpet installer, gave money to a homeless person, waved to every driver who has stopped to let my car go by on a tight road, and let someone with only a few items go in front of me at the check-out. I have purposely upped my kindness game, and every day I look for ways to acknowledge, to be gracious, to connect. Because we are not alone here. We are all part of that race to be human. Not black, white, yellow or brown – just human. It does matter, and it does make a difference.
Smile first, say thank you, tip generously, hold a door, let someone pass, give up your seat, make a joke, give a compliment, remember a name, acknowledge good work, hug someone, help someone, forgive someone, always be kind. It’s never enough.