Friday, November 18, 2016
Today I am grateful for kindness. And I’ve been grateful for it before so maybe I should label this blog, Kindness 20! I will probably be grateful for it again and again because these days we need kindness more than ever.
People are being ostracized all over the place. I don’t have to ask “what is causing this” because I know, even if you might be kidding yourself into not believing it is so. I assume by now I’ve lost some of you because you are sick of hearing that an elected president is to blame for the disgracing debacle that is facing our nation! Believe me if I could lose me I would, too, because I swear I’m more sick of it than you.
But it’s true. It is probably the only really true thing that came out of the entire election process. What is also unfortunately true is that many, many people not only agree that White Rules and racism and the other “isms” are okay, too. How sad is that? It’s cry an entire bucket of tears sad. Every hour. Every day. Forever.
There is a great poem we used in diversity training called, “They Came for. . .”, by Martin Niemoller. Google it and all of its many versions. The point is that you might want all Muslim people to become part of a registry and think that’s okay. Will you still feel that way if they insist your church and only your church is suspicious and should do the same?
Supposing one day all people with blue eyes are considered demons and it is declared they should be put into internment camps. Does anyone you love have blue eyes? Ridiculous, you think? More ridiculous than the senseless slaughter of millions of Jews?
What about tall people, or skinny people, or short people, or fat people? I’d be doomed and so would you. We all have snippets of prejudice in us whether we want to or not. If I’m driving and some other driver pulls an idiot stunt, I’m always certain of their nationality. And I’m usually right. But I am wrong, too. So very, very wrong! And while I’m ashamed to admit it, I’m admitting it anyway. To myself. And to you. So that you can look inside, too, and admit it. You can’t fix it until you admit it.
The election and it’s results have rattled me to my core, because even though I hate racism, prejudice, misogyny, bigotry, anti-semitism on every level, I know I’ve been guilty. And I don’t like that about me. If I want everyone whose gone nuts with nasty vitriol and violence to knock it off out there, then I have to knock it off in here. In me, where I have unkind thoughts about them.
I want to be kind. I need to be kind. So today, silly as it sounds, when I left the YMCA there was a woman waiting for a shuttle ride. She had been waiting for an hour. It was nice out, but that’s a long time to wait. I chatted with her and got in my car and left because I wanted to visit a friend in a nearby nursing home.
I got to the driveway and literally said aloud to myself, “Mary Mooney, what is your problem? You know better. Shame on you! You were not raised to ignore people like this. You pull your damned head out of your ass and go back and ask that lady if she wants you to give her a ride home!” Yes, I talk to myself. A lot.
Myself gave me such good advice that I did go back. . .and she was very grateful for a ride. . .it was maybe a mile or two out of my way. Took probably 10 minutes. And I made a new friend. She felt good. I felt good. Good has been on a holiday lately, so it took me awhile to identify the feeling.
“Whoopee! Mary Mooney wants us all to know what a great person she is.” See, I can hear some of your inner voices, too. Lucky me. The point I’m trying to make is that you don’t have to carry a picket sign, or spout off on Facebook, or share every post you see, or drive yourself nuts listening to the network news, or make huge donations to whatever charity, to make yourself feel like you are contributing to society.
Kindness doesn’t cost. And the need is right around the corner. Or sitting on a bench at the entrance to the YMCA! Go and do good. Spread happy, not hate. You will feel better and so will the rest of us.