Mornings draw me outside with coffee and sleep-groggy thoughts. Birdsongs and squirrel chatter comfort me. I turn off the fountain and feed the pond fish, eager for their morning meal. They accept me with mushy hair and a naked face – something I hope my neighbors don’t see. As I settle onto my brightly colored settee, Theo, my one-eared, half-blind cat jumps up beside me. I move my book out of his way as he head thumps me. His purr reverberates against the other outside sounds. So far, this morning, there are no barking dogs, roofing nails being pounded in, or the assault of motorized lawn equipment. It is a peaceful morning. Still, I can’t quite shake a depression that has wrapped its spindly fingers around my heart.
|My morning spot|
Lately, my blood pressure has been way too high. I need these moments of peace to calm my inner turmoil. This has been a truly terrible year and my heart/soul/mind is not dealing well with it. Too many people I’ve known have died. There are too many widows/widowers who need comfort, yet I find myself retreating, unable to reach out. It’s not that I don’t care. I do. It’s just that I’m empty and can’t seem to muster much to give.
This week, there was more bad news. A neighbor’s sister has cancer. A woman my husband helps fell and broke her hip. I’m afraid to call for an update on an uncle who’s not doing well. I don’t want to process any more bad news.
Then there’s the political upheaval (let’s not even go there) and the pressing news stories that one can’t/shouldn’t avoid. Ignorance doesn’t help. But knowledge bears little benefit. Yes, I care about black lives. And blue lives. And unborn lives, for that matter. But the news reports don’t change the way I treat people. I try to be kind; sometimes more to strangers than to those closest to me.
A couple of weeks ago, I was out to breakfast with one of my daughters. She ended up anonymously paying for a police officer’s meal. In light of all the reports of bad behavior from the police, I questioned her on it. Her reply? “Maybe it will make him deal with someone more kindly today.” My eyes tear up just thinking about it.
I’m trying to use Facebook as a means to spread kindness and goodness. I realize that FB is adding to my depression lately simply because people are being so darned mean to each other. The hatefulness expressed there (mostly because of differing political views) is dark and ugly. So, to counteract it, I’m trying my best to shed light.
Won’t you join me? Maybe we could start a movement to turn social media into a life-affirming vehicle where it’s clear that, while violence against anyone is not acceptable and not to be ignored, life is still to be celebrated. Your life. My life. Your neighbor’s life. The lives of those who have a different color skin or who wear a uniform or whose faith is different than ours.
But take it beyond social media. Be kind . . . to that bejeweled woman in the checkout line buying her food with food stamps while using cash for cigarettes . . . to that impatient business man in line at the bank . . . to that mom with the noisy kids at the next booth in the restaurant . . . Be kind. Be kind. For I truly believe kindness is the only way we’re going to turn things around in these dismal days of discord and dissension.
Let’s do it, folks. Let’s create more smiles than sneers.
I love you all,