Monday, December 17, 2018

I put myself in Time Out.

Well, partly because Hubby has been been recouping after hip surgery.  He's doing great.  I joke that I have to step on Superman's cape occasionally to slow him down so he doesn't hurt himself.

The rest of my self imposed Time Out was fatigue over conversations that are all anger and no substance.  It got so bad, I wrote this for my seniors' January newsletter.  Ironically, telling it made me feel better.  Hope you have a great week!


I listen to NPR news on my commute, so I know what’s going on in the world.  They remind me of Walter Cronkite, when both sides of a story were told and people were believed capable of making up their own minds.   Today’s news often feels like a carnival sideshow determined to make us squirm, not learn.

Some days, the news is just depressing.  Terrorist attacks on good, innocent people just minding their own business.  Feuding politicians...are there any other kind left?   Gun violence, lack of trust in those who actually serve and protect.  Kids who don’t know choices have consequences because they’ve grown up being told they’re special and never have to work to achieve anything...just show up and get a participation ribbon.  Stock market like a yo-yo, morals following the same path. I’m barraged with whose opinion matters more...and evidently it’s never mine.   It’s so bad my husband chooses to concentrate on the weather and impending storms.  He says if I don’t stop watching the news with my heart, I’m not going to get educated, I’m going to get an ulcer.

I try to separate fact from fiction but these days that’s often difficult.  Why is everyone so angry all the time?  Will “good news” stories ever outnumber the bad?  The truth is, we’re not in control of much but our reaction to life.  Sometimes it just feels overwhelming.  After yesterday’s news, a simple refrain suddenly came to mind, “Let their be peace on Earth and let it begin with me.”

I try to practice that daily.  Sort of a self imposed following of the “Golden Rule”  24/7.  You know, hold the door for the person behind you or give someone the benefit of the doubt because you don’t walk in their shoes.  Am I always successful?  No.  But there aren’t passengers on my commute when I ponder whether other drivers own turn signals or a real driver’s license.  Being kind, however, is actually quite easy.  Sometimes it’s even contagious.

I started noticing that over the last several months...all because I  simply let someone go ahead of me in line.  It’s almost a reflex action.  If the person behind me has a couple of items and I have a cartful, I always say with a smile, ”Is that all you have?  Come on, go ahead of me.”  At first they hesitate, as if looking for the catch.  I keep smiling, often joking, “I’m in no hurry to go home and do laundry.”  That seems to make me normal,  so they laugh, step up and without fail say thanks when they’re done.   Previously silent people in line start talking to each other,  acknowledging that it really is easy to just be nice to people.   Even strangers.  One lady said when she went back home, up north,  she’d tell folks southern kindness wasn’t a myth. I hope she realizes there are lots of people like that.  Everywhere.

Standing in line recently,  I was tired and ready to block out noise pretending to be holiday jolly.  Two people were in line ahead of me and the gentleman behind only had a birthday card.  Before I could offer him a line upgrade, he smiled and asked, “Can you hold this for a minute?  I need to go to my car and get a pen.”  I silently nodded as he thrust the card in my hand and slipped out the door.  The lady behind me hissed he probably didn’t  have enough money or expected me to pay for it.   Before I could even consider replying, he returned with a grateful smile, thanked me and was amazed I wanted him to go ahead.  During the transaction the cashier remarked how nice I’d been.  I replied, “Hey, it’s so easy to be kind.  World would be a lot nicer if we just did that every day.”  As she yelled, “Amen sister!”, the man agreed, then turned to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.  Even the grumpy lady behind me was smiling.

Sir, you were most welcome.  For 30 seconds you let me block out the media demographic which would’ve reported which of us was black, who was white, our assorted ages and social economic status.  Truth is, good people are always there.  You just have to open your eyes and see them.


savannah said...

THANK YOU! I recently saw a meme on that said something along the lines of "you can be anything you want, so be kind." You are living proof! xoxo

hope said...

I try...lord knows I try. Today I wanted to send several of the senior citizens to time out for being catty and Grinch like. The day was saved when a lady handed each of us something from her grandson Jacob. When she'd asked the day before what he was doing, he said proudly, "I'm making necklaces for the ladies at lunch." It's three small ornaments on a ribbon. Jacob is 6...and not only adorable, but kind already.

Ponita in Real Life said...

Well said. It takes so little effort to hold a door open, smile at people, look them in the eye and say hello, help someone out when they need a hand. Seems like such a rare thing these days, doesn't it? Especially when those in the public eye are so callous and mean spirited. I agree with Savannah... you definitely are living proof! xoxoxo

maurcheen said...

And that is why we are all friends!
Happy Christmas.

Claudette Stemmer said...

You've always been kind! Since I'm bad about writing, I use my advantage of your blog. When I saw the last entry date, I really wondered how you & Superman were doing. Glad to hear that you're both doing fine. Maybe someday, my promise of a letter will appear. Love you!

Kim Ayres said...

I've always felt that most people are good most of the time. But when we are constantly being told by the news and other media outlets that most people are bad most of the time, then we get fearful and defensive. We start looking for other people to take advantage of us, and read everyone's motivations in that light - like the person wondering what the catch was if you were letting her in front of you in the queue.
We can watch the news and become convinced the world will end tomorrow, or we can switch off the tv, walk down the street and see hundreds of small kindnesses between people every day.
When I remember - and when I'm reminded by posts like yours - I refocus on the latter.
Hope the festive season is being good to you xx

hope said...

Thanks y'all for the kind words and being living proof of good people. Claudie, I gets in the way of our good intentions sometimes. Like right now...I'm on vacation and trying to learn the new laptop Hubby got me for Christmas. Deep breaths help. :)