I have had so many thoughts over the past few weeks (months, years) over the state of everything happening in our world. All the hate, the violence, what essentially feels like the decline of humanity. I haven’t had the words though for any of it. The world feels like a strange alien place. One that I don’t like and I’m quite scared of. How are we supposed to have hope for the future of humanity when everywhere you look some tragedy is happening?
It seems that the more these tragedies happen the more people feel the need to share their opinions on what needs to be done. Here in America especially we are a very, very divided nation. We see things on two very separate sides of the aisle and there is never any meeting in the middle. Gun control, immigration, racism all of these topics that overtake our day-to-day conversations and nobody can agree on anything and all it does is create more strife and ugliness. There’s name-calling and finger pointing and all of these horrible things that aren’t doing anybody any good.
There’s an easy solution to some of this though and as cheesy as that may sound it’s kindness. Kindness and compassion can go a long way if we let them. The best part of all is that it doesn’t cost anything to be kind. I’m not so naive to think that we can just solve all our problems by being nice but it certainly would help make the world a little less hostile.
I saw a play called Doctor Faustus in London a few weeks ago and it was a bit crazy and not really a play that you expect to sort of leave you thinking. The premise of the play was a man who sold his soul to the devil and in return he got to have whatever he wanted. He chose fame. He wanted to be a famous magician, the best that ever lived, and to him that was the best use of this deal with the devil. As the play goes on he ends up having a conversation with his assistant about his decision and they end up talking about other things he could have chosen. Of course, the topic of world peace came up because that would have been the selfless thing to choose, right? His assistant, Wagner, turns a bit sad and tells him that she doesn’t think that it would have done any good for him to choose that because in order to achieve that you have to change ever single person and that’s not really possible. She goes on to share her feelings that instead of trying to change everyone that maybe people can just be kind to one other. Because if one person is kind to someone else then that person will in turn go on to be kind to another person and so on and so forth. Creating a ripple effect of kindness that would do a lot of good. That moment of the play has stuck with me since I saw it and it’s been something that has been heavily on my mind especially lately.
After Portugal beat France in the EuroCup there was a video that surfaced of a French fan crying. A little boy who was celebrating Portugal’s win saw the fan who was in tears and walked over to console him. I imagine telling him he was sorry and giving him a hug. The French fan hugged the boy and kissed his head and you could just see in his body language how much that meant to him. He hugged the boy again and was on his way. Then the little boy watched until the fan was out of sight before he started celebrating again. I can’t tell you how much that video moved me. That little boy could have rubbed it in his face or just not given a second thought to the upset that stranger was feeling. Yet he remembered that kindness matters and it cost him nothing. I like to think that the French fan he was comforting will pass that kindness along to somebody creating that ripple effect I mentioned. Maybe moments like that mean that everything isn’t so hopeless. We can still teach our sons and daughters that kindness and compassion matter.
There is truly no act of kindness that’s too small. The world feels like such a dark place these days and it can be absolutely heartbreaking but it doesn’t have to be this way all the time. Make somebody’s day by helping them, paying them a compliment, smile at a stranger. Josh Coombes and Matt Spraklen have started a movement called “Do Something For Nothing” in which they are trying to get people to realize that everyone can do something for someone for absolutely nothing. Josh started it by offering free haircuts to the homeless in his city. Now he and Matt along with the help of the @London instagram platform are trying to make this a global movement. They aren’t trying to raise awareness but instead raise compassion and that is exactly what the world needs more of.
I hope that I’ve done my part to be kind to people and treat people with compassion and an open heart. I know we’re all human and we have bad days and get mad at people and can sometimes say hurtful things. Sometimes people can make it hard to be kind but that’s when it’s most important to show that. To steal a line from Harry Styles, “Be nice to everyone and do it five minutes early.” The last thing we need is to all become so disconnected from each other that we forget to do that.
Sending love and light to France and to all of you wherever you are in the world.