Today there was another tragic news headline. It doesn’t matter where the story was, or what the story was. We know that tragedies strike in big towns and little cities, without warning, leaving communities in shock and anguish. It is hard to make sense of, but I hope you’ll consider this as a game plan.
Tragedies occur, this is true. It is an indisputable fact that awful things happen, especially to women and children (hey, and we know women can also do horrible things). Don’t rush too quickly to look for the good in the world (although there is an abundance of it, it’s just not usually headline news). But rather than enduring the low grade pain (like a low grade fever) or trying to block it out, expand the pain and amplify it, examine it, and honor it…
– It is heart wrenching that people are abused, belittled, and even murdered.
– It is heartbreaking to know that children become incurably ill and suffer violence.
– It is unbelievable that some little kids in class this very morning are learning about homicide and suicide when they should be thinking about how to spend their recess.
Make your list. Write it in all capitals if that helps. Get angry. Get Sad. And then….
…and then be all of the things we imagine The Bad Guys (and women) are not. Compassionate. Gentle. Loving. Create buffers between you and the world for yourself & the people you love.
But don’t lock up your heart and body and spirit from the world in order to keep it safe. Because if you lock it up, you’re also locking up all the warmth and goodness that is the antidote for hatred and pain and isolation. How? Look people in they eye on the sidewalk and smile. That woman in the supermarket or on the subway with the screaming toddler? Shoot her a look that says “I get it, and you’re doing a great job”. Offer to help an older person with their bag or buggy. Let people in front of you in line. Yeild sometimes. Soften your voice, soften you heart. Open doors for people and look at them. Say “have a good day” and mean it (especially if you’re looking in the mirror). Spread your compassion. Spread your warmth. Spread your love. It’s in you to give, even when you feel shaky and raw and vulnerable. ESPECIALLY when you feel shaky and raw and vulnerable.
The world requires your kindness.