I like to think that by living in France, not turning on the television, or listening to the radio, I’ve allowed myself and my family to immerse ourselves in a little bubble of safety in a world that continues to confuse, anger, and sadden me all at once. And then I log onto Facebook, or Twitter, read a blog and can clearly see that world is still there. Still confusing. Still angry. Still sad.
I read about the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado, or the troubling story about Jim Stanek. I see racist and ignorant things posted on Facebook, posts written by a blogger responding to gossip on vanity, or defending how she chooses to blog. In my everyday life in Paris, while enjoying a beautiful Sunday picnic in Paris, and watching as a woman attempted to knock another off her bike because “she’s riding in a no bike zone.”
I have seen the horrors serious mental health issues can impose on people… the hidden disabilities, the perceived ones, the obvious ones. The ones that can be controlled and those that can never be cured. Some with the chance of recovery, others with the life-long sentence. Some never have a choice, never have control over the battle life has handed them. And yet for every one person who is unable to control there are hundred’s of us that can….. and chose not to. There are so many of us who have the complete power to take control of our actions, our responses to the world, to humanity.
If ever you were to do something in your life, something you have complete control over is how you CHOSE to treat other people. You have the CHOICE TO BE KIND. You have the opportunity to let the past go. You have the opportunity to take one moment, one small fleeting opportunity to imagine how the person on the receiving end of your anger, sadness, confusion, ignorance, stupidity, rage….. might be feeling. What battles they might be fighting…. what loses they might be suffering. What road has led them to where they are today. When you CHOSE to ignore the fundamental rights of others, to ignore kindness, you are fueling the machine that is arguably ruining our society.
People often believe or perceive kindness for passiveness or naiveness, and that is a mistake. To be gracious to your fellow-man is to understand and respect that they too are a person, a thinking, feeling individual who has the RIGHT to be respected.
The challenge before you is to be kind, and to expect kindness from others. Whether on a global scale or in talking to your neighbor, give kindness and expect kindness in return. “Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”