What can we do?

First of all, I’m aware that I have been mostly absent from this website over the last few weeks. I’m finding it hard to overcome my inclination to be lazy and bottle up my thoughts because sharing them is too much work. I have some stuff I’m working on, I promise. Also, if there are people following this, that I do not know personally, I want to know you! Please contact me via the “Get at me” page, leave a comment, or connect with me on social media. Click the icons to the right.

I really wanted to take a few paragraphs to talk about the world and the state of disarray that the entire planet seems to be in. Last week was a rough one for the planet and the people that live on it. There were gruesome and deadly attacks in Paris, Beirut, and Kenya, in addition to natural disasters. I felt like the news told one horrible story after another, but for some, it wasn’t just a story-they lived it. It’s unimaginable for me.

In times of tragedy, I often feel so completely helpless. Some force beyond our control, whether it’s Mother Nature or an evil human with guns and bombs, has stolen the minuscule amount of power we have over our own lives. That’s an overwhelming thing, isn’t it? There’s this weight I feel — a desire to do something to help, while also knowing that I’m only one person, and making any sort of tangible impact is unlikely. But maybe my idea of what is tangible is skewed.

So what do we do? I’ve been thinking about this a lot. For me the answer is that I have to represent ideals of compassion, and try everyday to simply be a better human being. I don’t want to sit here and talk about my misanthropic self, and how much of a challenge it may be to be outwardly nicer some days. The point I’m trying to make in an admittedly not-so-clear way is that you don’t have to change your whole personality to operate from a place of compassion. Say “please” and “thank you,” listen more, don’t interrupt, help the person that trips on the sidewalk and drops all their stuff, maybe offer a compliment every now and then. Maybe, I’ll even try to give more hugs, but I’m not making any promises. If you’re so inclined, volunteer, give blood, donate money or goods. I am certainly subpar in developing some of these good habits. However, I do believe that I will feel more fulfilled in life if I’m doing something to make someone else’s just a little bit better.

As a quick aside, there’s a lot of really gross and, well, racist commentary flying around. Being kind and compassionate does not mean that this should be allowed in your space. I think of it kind of how people talk about a person who witnesses a bully and says nothing. Saying nothing is just as bad. Don’t tolerate hate speech.

So much about this world just doesn’t make sense. We have control over how we treat people, and kindness is what the world needs right now.


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