With the hysteria, the fear, the hype, the divisions, the opinions, the hate, and the drawing of lines in the sand in our current days – have we lost the ability to practice kindness?
Google defines kindness as the “quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.”
Besides the dictionary definition, most would agree that another way to describe kindness would be the seemingly simple act of treating your fellow human being as we ourselves would like to be treated.
We all long for it, but yet we don’t give it.
What would it look like if we laid down our shield of religious “thou shall” and “thou shall nots” and decided to practice the second greatest commandment of loving others as ourselves?
What if we didn’t allow politics and whether or not someone is “left leaning” or “right leaning” to dictate how we treated them?
What if we could help defuse racially charged divisions if we remembered that beyond the amount of melanin in a person’s skin lies a heart, soul, and mind no different than our own?
What if we chose not to feed the hatred spewed by the finger stroke on a keyboard on social media by not engaging in comment wars; but instead responding with kindness infused words or not responding at all?
What if we taught our communities, our children what kindness personified is instead of modeling what fear induced hatred of others looks like?
What if a simple smile, a kind word, a meeting of another’s eyes – not in pity or arrogance – but in human solidarity could change someone’s life forever?
As a human race we will never completely agree on what religion is right or how said religion should be practiced, what exactly is politically correct or what government policy should be upheld or debated, but I believe that most of us do know what kindness is, what it looks like, and what hope, peace, and joy it can breathe into a dying soul.
Christmas approaches, twinkling lights abound, so this Advent season let us remember that no matter our age, stage, religious background, political party, or ethnic background — we can be kind.
We can choose kindness over fear, hate, and vicious words that rip into already bleeding souls.
We can fight hate by not letting our deepest nightmares manifest into accusations and stereotyping.
We can remember: we are all human — and most of us are trying every day to live well through some of the most difficult situations imaginable. A kind word spoken, maybe even despite our reservations or fears, can be the spark that ignites the fading embers of light in the hovering darkness of this usually merry and bright season.
Fear seeks to enslave, wound, and paralyze.
Kindness breaks through the darkness and shows us how beautiful life can be as being kind sets us free, gives us purpose, and allows us to truly see others for who they are: fellow human beings with hopes, dreams, fears, and struggles.
People who are…
just like us.
P.S. I am in no way denying the pure evil, senseless tragedies that happen every day in our world. As I attempted to process all the hate and fighting all around us, I wrote this reflective piece. I realize it may seem cliché or over simplified to some, but I challenge us all (myself first) with the question – do we truly practice kindness, as “simple” as it may seem? A scroll through anyone’s Facebook or Twitter feed would lead us to perhaps realize there are always more opportunities to spread hatred instead of kindness. I believe kindness makes a difference in changing lives for the better while hatred and fear only feed the darkness that breeds evil.
What do you think?