There's been a lot of talk recently about "paying it forward". Seems when we are most confused and heartbroken about things happening in the world around us, the smallest gestures of kindness can be the most life-changing. Unfortunately, we humans are so often caught up in our own little day-to-day dramas and responsibilities that it often takes monumental tragedy for us to stop for a moment and realize how lucky we are to love and be loved, to be alive, healthy - all things I know I take for granted on a daily basis.
During the holiday season being thoughtful comes a little more easily than the rest of the year, but what if we could keep that up the other 11 months? I'm not talking earth-shattering grand gestures, but simply being nice. I'd like to think I go around spreading sunshine and flowers everywhere I go, but the reality is that there are days that go by where the nicest thing I do for others is to allow a merging motorist into traffic without a who's-nose-can-get-closer-to-the-car-ahead-of-us contest. And, yes, even that can feel like it was a great effort and that I have given something beautiful of myself to all of mankind. I'll feel smug for simply not being a giant a-hole.
Logically I realize life's too short to go through it like that. But it's not something I'm good at thinking about every day, or even then, acting on when I do think of it.
Husband Guy went into a Starbucks on Christmas Eve, and when he got up to the register the barista told him his double-shot was free of charge, and handed him this:
This amazing little kid had come in earlier and loaded up a Starbucks card and pre-paid for the next several customers. A bunch of grouchy grown-ups doing their last-minute shopping on the craziest day of the year to be out there, battling selfishly and viciously for parking spaces and last items on shelves, suffering holiday headaches and in need of some caffeinated solace . . . and they were all given this sweet reminder: be nice.
By blogging about this today, I suppose I should have some clever challenge and/or gift of my own for you, but I don't. Just a little reminder for myself, and to share with any of you who feel like paying attention: let's try to be nicer. We humans are a volatile, fragile lot, and should be handled with great care. Remind people you love that you do. Out loud. And those that you don't necessarily love, well, we are all sharing this tiny little planet together - we might as well be nice to each other, like Diego.