I recently came across this text meme making the rounds on IG stories:
“As the world fights to figure everything out, I’ll be holding doors for strangers, letting people cut in front of me in traffic, saying good morning, keeping babies entertained in grocery lines, stopping to talk to someone who is lonely, tipping generously, waving at police, sharing food, giving children a thumbs-up, being patient with sales clerks, smiling at passersby, and buying a stranger a cup of coffee. WHY? Because I will not stand to live in a world where love is invisible. Join me in showing kindness, understanding, and judging less. Be kind to a stranger, give grace to friends who are having a bad day, be forgiving with yourself.“
Cringe aside, these are all fine, kind things to do, though they absolutely ring a bit hollow when coming from a strong place of white suburban privilege (as was the case with my source).
What’s the main issue then? Well, it’s that in the year of our Lord 2022, proudly proclaiming that you’re performing a set of table stakes niceties while “the world fights to figure everything out” just doesn’t cut it as an acceptable course of action for a compassionate human being.
As the improv comedy community would say, “Yes, and…”
Of course you should be practicing acts of kindness, and be…
- Paying attention to voices that are increasingly being silenced and marginalized, then doing your part to amplify them, consequences be damned.
- Relentlessly calling out organizations that elevate legalism over love.
- Coming to grips with the fact that the beloved past you long for with rose-colored glasses wasn’t all that great for so many others (or for the planet itself), and that it’s never, ever coming back.
In other words, things are real bad right now, there’s no sugarcoating it. Trust me though, you don’t want to live in a world where others “figure everything out” while you sit on the sidelines. Be loud. Be mad. Be informed. Be clear-eyed, but also be kind.