Sunday, March 10, 2013

Making it better

Life often throws stuff at us that we'd rather not deal with, from the little annoyances like sleet and head colds, to the major leagues of hurricanes and plagues and the like. (And sometimes major tragedies wear the deceptive clothing of the annoyances, which seems extra unfair somehow--"But it was just an inch of water!" "But it was just a little bee sting!") Anyway, we all deal with a certain amount of crap.

And sometimes we make the crap worse for one another. We cut one another off in traffic, we gossip, we throw our trash on the ground where others will have to deal with it. We say mean things.

And sometimes we make life better instead of worse. We bring someone flowers, or clean the food-spatter off the microwave at work, or donate blood. We go out of our way to tell someone how special he or she is.

In tribute to a friend named Mike Yasick, Beth Kephart posted this on her blog: "He demonstrated, repeatedly, why it is far more rewarding, in this life, to be a force of good. Negativity is all sharp edges. Unprovoked cruelty solves no problems. ... Why throw spears when there's a bowl of chocolate near? ... Why not make somebody happy?"

Which also reminds me of John and Hank Green, and the movement they started known as Nerdfighters, whose purpose they describe as "to increase awesome and decreas[e] world suck." And also reminds me of The Birthday Project, which encourages people to celebrate their birthdays with random acts of kindness (here is a list of suggestions).

I'm grateful for all the ways, large and small, in which the people around me choose to be kind rather than cruel, encouraging rather than negative, patient rather than brusque, generous rather than stingy. You're making the world a better place.

10 comments:

  1. oh, Jennifer. thank you for spreading word. you filled in the spaces of what I meant to say but couldn't. I am grateful.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I find that kindness and thoughtfulness are often overlooked qualities so it's refreshing to know that these attributes are still appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Both kindness and cruelty have ripple effects ... we get to choose the sorts of ripples we want to create.

      Delete
  3. The right thing to do is the kind thing. It's helpful to mindful of this at all times. ^_^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In this world I often feel powerless, but it helps to remember that we have at least this much choice: with my actions, do I want to make this world a little better or a little worse?

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. As I am grateful for your online presence! :-)

      Delete
  5. This is a lovely post. We forget that it actually takes more effort and thought process to be mean and snarky, than it is just to be nice. You know, the whole, we use more face muscles to put on a frown, rather than a smile.

    This is a happy post, and certainly makes things better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think of your attendance at book signings as a kind act, much appreciated. :-)

      Delete