I doubt there is anyone out there who isn’t feeling the stress of daily life on some level. When we’re all feeling anxious and a bit worn out, its easy to forget to be nice — to be tolerant and compassionate. We are after all, only human. But remembering to be kind is just what we need to do.
Please Go Easy
The Bible teaches us to love one another as we love our selves. We’re encouraged to treat people the way we want to be treated and to show compassion to all. In essence, we’re taught to be filled with the milk of human kindness. Since all of us have experienced stress, anxiety, loneliness and fear, we should always be conscious of what others are going through. Consider the person who doesn’t hold the door for you, or the person who gives you a dirty look in the grocery store — we never know what burdens they may be carrying and while our first instinct may be to lash out at them, isn’t it better that we simply let it go? Or even better, that we simply smile and go on our way? What good comes from escalation of tension? None…not for them and not for us.
“A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.” —Steve Maraboli.
“Compassion isn’t about solutions. It’s about giving all the love that you’ve got.” —Cheryl Strayed
John Pavlovitz has written a beautiful reminder for all of us to…go easy.
The day my father died, I was at the grocery store buying bananas.
I remember thinking to myself, “This is insane. Your dad just died. Why the hell are you buying bananas?”
But we needed bananas. We’d be waking up for breakfast tomorrow morning, and there wouldn’t be any bananas—so there I was.
And lots of other stuff still needed doing too, so over the coming days I would navigate parking lots, wait in restaurant lines, and sit on park benches; pushing back tears, fighting to stay upright, and in general always being seconds from a total, blubbering, room-clearing freak out.
I wanted to wear a sign that said: I JUST LOST MY DAD. PLEASE GO EASY.
Unless anyone passing by looked deeply into my bloodshot eyes or noticed the occasional break in my voice and thought enough to ask, it’s not like they’d have known what’s happening inside me or around me. They wouldn’t have had any idea of the gaping sinkhole that had just opened up and swallowed the normal life of the guy next to them in the produce section.
And while I didn’t want to physically wear my actual circumstances on my chest, it probably would have caused people around me to give me space or speak softer or move more carefully—and it might have made the impossible, almost bearable.
Everyone around you; the people you share the grocery store line with, pass in traffic, sit next to at work, encounter on social media, and see across the kitchen table—they’re all experiencing the collateral damage of living. They are all grieving someone, missing someone, worried about someone. Their marriages are crumbling or their mortgage payment is late or they’re waiting on their child’s test results, or they’re getting bananas five years after a death and still pushing back tears because the loss feels as real as it did that first day.
Every single human being you pass by today is fighting to find peace and to push back fear; to get through their daily tasks without breaking down in front of the bananas or in the carpool line or at the post office.
Maybe they aren’t mourning the sudden, tragic passing of a parent, but wounded, exhausted, pain-ravaged people are everywhere, everyday stumbling all around us—and yet most of the time we’re fairly oblivious to them:
– Parents whose children are terminally ill.
– Couples in the middle of divorce.
– People grieving loss of loved ones and relationships.
– Kids being bullied at school.
– Teenagers who want to end their lives.
– People marking the anniversary of a death.
– Parents worried about their depressed teenager.
– Spouses whose partners are deployed in combat.
– Families with no idea how to keep the lights on.
– Single parents with little help and little sleep.
Everyone is grieving and worried and fearful, and yet none of them wear the signs, none of them have labels, and none of them come with written warnings reading, I’M STRUGGLING. BE NICE TO ME.
And since they don’t, it’s up to you and me to look more closely and more deeply at everyone around us: at work or at the gas station or in the produce section, and to never assume they aren’t all just hanging by a thread. Because most people are hanging by a thread—and our simple kindness can be that thread.
We need to remind ourselves just how hard the hidden stories around us might be, and to approach each person as a delicate, breakable, invaluable treasure—and to handle them with care.
As you make your way through the world today, people won’t be wearing signs to announce their mourning or to alert you to the attrition or to broadcast how terrified they are—but if you look with the right eyes, you’ll see the signs.
There are grieving people all around you.
– John Pavlovitz
“Every single human being you pass by today is fighting to find peace and to push back fear; to get through their daily tasks without breaking down in front of the bananas or in the carpool line or at the post office.” This is so very true. Not everyone will look sad or seem stressed. Some people hide their grief…but its there, ready to burst out. Some among us conceal the desperate loneliness they feel…but that raw feeling of being all alone is there within them. I guess the point is, we never know what someone is feeling and we don’t want to add to their woe, just as we don’t want someone to add to ours. Kindness, compassion, tolerance and understanding are all free — lets start giving those healing powers away to everyone we meet. You never know if that smile, or the friendly “hi!” might just make all the difference in someone’s life.
A simple tip for us to remember is that sometimes, counting to ten really does work. When we’re tempted to lash out at someone who may have annoyed us, or if we have the urge to snap at someone for taking too long at the checkout counter, we should take a breath, relax and count to ten. Hopefully, that brief pause is enough to remind us to “go easy.”
“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” —Scott Adams
“Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver.” —Barbara De Angelis.
“Go and love someone exactly as they are. And then watch how quickly they transform into the greatest, truest version of themselves. When one feels seen and appreciated in their own essence, one is instantly empowered.” —Wes Angelozzi.