I wish I had the power to ease all the pain.
I was watching the news the other night and had to shut it off. So many lives lost, families shattered and hearts broken. So much bad. So much brokenness. It was overwhelming. All I wanted to do was reach out to the closest stranger and love them. I felt powerless and this is not a feeling I do well with.
It is important for all of us to put as much good out into the world as possible. Not so much in grand gestures but in small ones. Being less judgmental and more supportive of one another. Reaching out to others, whether you know them or not, offering love and strength. Being kind and polite to everyone you meet, regardless of their station in life. Taking time to actually hear someone answer the question; "How are you?" It is paying attention to all the chances throughout your day to do good. Holding a door for someone. Secretly buying the person behind you in line at the coffee shop a simple cup of coffee. Stop avoiding people's eyes as you walk through a crowd, look them in the face and for the briefest of moments, connect.
I was driving to an appointment the other day, it was 5 o'clock and traffic was horrendous. The road I was travelling was super busy with everyone trying to make it home to start the weekend. All of a sudden traffic came to a complete stop in both directions for what appeared to be no reason, until I noticed coming around the front bumper of a truck ahead of me, a mother duck and her seven ducklings. The world stopped to let them cross the street. It made my heart sigh with happiness as I sat there, watching as traffic backed up, that no one honked or hollered, no one got upset, they just paused their commute to let this happen. This is the good I was talking about. A small gesture. A small moment in life. But one that will ripple out unseen. Not only for the ducklings, but for all who witnessed and experienced what happens when you stop for someone else.
Powerful thought isn't it.
It is so often hard to see past ourselves to another's pain. Hard to smile at strangers when we are dying inside. Hard to even think about doing for anyone else when we barely have the strength to do for ourselves. So easy to get trapped in how difficult our own lives are that we fail to understand how the good we do - can ripple back into our own lives. My husband has an illness that affects his breathing and the past 5 months been a pretty bad flair up for him. He sat on the couch a few days before Christmas to get his boots on exhaustion, defeat and the pain from coughing constantly etched clearly on his face when all of a sudden he looked up at me and grinned. He got this twinkle in his eye and said that his goal, aside from making it through the work day, was to touch as many lives as he could. He is the Meat Manager at a local grocery store. Just the simple act of turning his anguish into good for someone else rippled back onto him and fired him up. He succeed, too. He bought a 90 year-old woman her roast for the holidays after she told him how far she had travelled to Maine to spend what will probably be her last Christmas with her family. He did a few other things as well but you get the idea. He took his pain and used it as fuel to bring good into someone else's world and in the process thinking outside of his own pain actually healed something within him.
As the New Year approaches maybe we can all set just one resolution - To be the good this world so desperately needs. Imagine the ripples we could create. Imagine the lives that could be changed. Imagine how less lonely this planet with over 7 billion inhabitants would feel.