April 27, 2020
Dearly beloved we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life…Okay, okay, I won’t sing the whole song, but just know it’s playing in the background as I type this. If you’re wondering what song I’m referring to, then maybe we can’t be friends. At any rate, before we all go nuts and start looking for the purple bandana, before they put us all in the trucks…don’t let the elevator bring us down…oh no let’s go!
Ok, so by now you know I’m listening to Prince. It’s that kind of day. My emotions are all over the place. I’m either gonna go nuts staring at this computer screen or I’m going to snap in half and yell unkind words next time it makes a “ding” to alert me of what ever is next in line demanding my attention. Those poor, unfortunate souls!
I might be feeling a little bit of alarm fatigue. Emails, text messages, secure qliqs, and calendar reminders are beginning to give me a tick. I think I’m beginning to have a Pavlovian response every time someone sends a message or I get a reminder that something needs be done. I’m just gonna grab my raspberry beret and head out to the 5 and dime! If you see me coming in through the out-door, mind your own business!
So, yeah, I’m having a tougher go of it today than I thought I would. Every detail clamoring for my attention, every co-worker collaboration, every phone call, every little stinking detail is getting under my skin and I’m just flat out tired. What this means, then, is there’s something I’ve left unattended in my spirit. My stress is disorienting me and I’m off kilter and off balance.
I haven’t got a lot of time for introspection today. I don’t have the energy for a full on attitude adjustment. I don’t have the courage to really do a lot to make things better. What do have time for, however, is to take a baby step toward what is possible. I will do something easy, something small and attainable. I will take one bite of the elephant and chew it fully. Today, I’ll take a baby step toward kindness.
We know that we cannot completely fix everything that’s wrong with the world. We can’t even fix ourselves. Maybe today it’s all just too heavy or too big or too scary to even look at. On days like these when everything is wrong or off or overly imbalanced, we must chose to operate in the possible and it’s always possible to be kind. Kindness might not be my first choice when I feel like recoiling and striking with all the sharpness of my grief. But what good will all this venom do anybody?
Ok, maybe you can’t be kind to everyone today. Maybe you don’t have a pocket full of sunshine. Maybe all you can hear are the doves crying and the grief of the day is all you can see. But, honestly, have you even tried? Have you tried being kind? To anyone? To yourself? Have you tried giving even the smallest kindness to anyone?
Maybe you can’t right the balance of injustice in a broken world but you can do one kind thing for yourself or someone else. Did you say “bless you?” Could you say “good job on that project?” Can you let someone take the cart you sanitized and bless them with a “here, you take this one” or “please go ahead of me”? Can you give yourself a break and a little grace? Can you treat yourself as the small and fearful child you are and say “you’re doing great kid, keep trying, you’ll get it next time!”
It won’t fix everything but isn’t everything already bad enough without your anger and your compassion fatigue adding to the noise and getting in the way of the healing that is possible? So, be kind…it might keep the whole thing taped together for one more day. It might save a life, maybe even your own!
I am inspired by this poem by Danusha Lameris:
I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
have my seat,” “Go ahead — you first,” “I like your hat.”
Love and Light and Smiles!