Loading the truck with kindness

Published 4:57 pm Wednesday, October 17, 2018

A friend of mine posted a picture on social media of her house in Mexico Beach after Hurricane Michael, or rather, where her home once stood.  What remains are unidentifiable rubble and a parcel of land that needs clearing.

Dawn and her family are OK, but their home is now just a memory.  Today, she is loading a truck with supplies and traveling to a place where she once relaxed on her porch as she watched the waves come ashore.  She will ask for prayer, donations and help for others as she participates in the healing of her community.  Mother Nature did not destroy human kindness. 

Today, when I turned on the news, one of the shows was conversing about Elizabeth Warren’s heritage.  Another news channel was discussing Megan Markle’s growing baby bump and another station was showing a video of a woman calling police on a black man trying to go to his own apartment because she didn’t like his “look.”  Does anyone else find that disturbing?  Are we so bored that we like to pick fights, watch a baby bump grow and listen to politicians claims of how great they are?  Really?

Does it take a Michael, a Katrina, a Harvey or another Sept. 11, to turn our attention to the heartbeat of folks in America?  We get so sidetracked by triviality in our society that we quickly forget the suffering and the devastation of our neighbors.  We can blame the media or politicians for this shallowness, but the truth is, we need to blame ourselves.

Folks, there is more to life than the pettiness of shallow living.  We are only given one life to live, and for me, I believe we need to be more like Dawn, who finds positivity and kindness among the rubble.  It shouldn’t take wrath from Mother Nature or terrorists to define what is meaningful in our lives. 

I know as a society we can’t travel back in time, but we could retrieve and implement some pearls of wisdom handed to us by some mighty fine people:

“Human kindness needs cultivation or weeds of evil will consume the garden,” my grandmother said.

“For it is in the giving that we receive,” Francis of Assisi said.

“He who sees a need and waits to be asked for help is as unkind as if he had refused it,” Dante Alighieri said.

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world,” Desmond Tutu said.

When we allow ourselves to be consumed by pettiness and unwinnable arguments, we are not cultivating kindness or helping those who need our aid.  We are underwhelming the world and teaching our children a horrible lesson.    

Lately, I have been consumed in my little world of writing, book signings, and contemplating gifts for Christmas.  My small selfish world of me is a comfortable place to be.  Then I witness Dawn loading her truck with supplies and going to help folks in desperate need, and my world becomes very unsettling.

I am glad Megan and Prince Harry are expecting a baby, but I don’t need to watch her baby bump grow.  I believe watching Mexico Beach rebuild and grow is more interesting.

Right now, there are more important things to listen to other than DNA results on Elizabeth Warren’s heritage or what the President calls her. 

Instead, they need to unite along with their constituents and determine how to expedite supplies of water to those who need it on the panhandle. That would be good news and worth my attention.

The white woman who called the police after not liking the “look” of her black neighbor, I know would be the same one reaching for his hand to help her if a hurricane had hit the building where they live. 

People don’t notice color during catastrophes or wars. 

So out of the petty rubble which consumes part of our lives, let’s rise to the positivity of living in kindness, boldly rejecting pettiness, help Dawn load a truck, do something extraordinarily kind and give the news folks something significant to broadcast. 

Who knows, maybe then we might just overwhelm the world and our children.