Thursday, January 26, 2017

Kindness Matters

It's a simple thought, really. Through every age, every era, every part of the world, if we take a closer look at people, not politics, we can see the truth shining up at us. We are not a world made of politics, scored by border lines, races, and religions. We are a world full of people. People who live their lives every day, through good times and bad, war and peace, prosperity and poverty, sorrow and joy. While history may chose to focus on the battles and rebellions that shaped our modern governments and divisions, it is our humanity that continues to draw us together.

I started out 2017 full of inexplicable hope. The number 17 is one of my favorite numbers, you see, and so I wanted to truly believe that this would be a year that would be somehow more amazing. But thus far, well, let's just say, not so much amazing. From frozen weather that shut down the city where my business is, to protests that have continued to divide, to the continued daily struggle of figuring out all the "what next" decisions we are facing, it has honestly been hard.

I was encouraged through a challenge on Bookstagram (the obsessive lovers of books portion of Instagram) to choose a word for this year, and in my desire for positivity, I picked the word "Believe." I've put aside my naivety, but I refuse to completely give up on the dream that despite the challenges we all face, I will believe that things can be better. I will believe that I can push myself forward every day to be more of the person I want to be. I will believe that despite the things that appear to divide, we are all people, and we all matter. Kindness matters.

That is really the core of the book I published back in October. It is so easy to see what we want to see in others and in ourselves, but is that really fair? Are we really allowing people to be who they genuinely are? And if they exhibit their true selves, are we willing to accept and love them, even if we don't agree with them or the decisions they make? Does kindness really matter?

Well, this morning, I experienced kindness in a simple but compelling way. I was out of coffee creamer, and so I decided to pick up a Dutch Bros coffee on the way into work. (Yeah, I like my coffee to taste like candy.) After waiting patiently in line, my punch card and money ready to go, I was greeted by a smiling girl handing me my coffee and explaining that the gentleman in front of me had paid for my drink. And here's the thing, this is not the first time this has happened to me. Even as I was sitting in line I had been remembering the kind soul who had done that very thing for me a couple of months ago when I was on my way to a book signing event. It touched me then, and it touched me again today. I will never see either of those people and know who they are, but their kindness mattered to me, more than they will probably ever even realize.

So wherever you are, whatever your circumstances, whatever your abilities, just remember that even the smallest acts of kindness really do matter.

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