In a world where you can be anything, be kind. – Winnie the Pooh
I started writing this blog last week. Despite my repeated attempts, I was unable to put together a cohesive post.
I wanted to write about the holidays, about we’re supposed to rejoice, as this is a happy season of giving and joy. I wanted to remind us to be kind to others – and ourselves – as we don’t know what another person is going through unless they share it with us. And I wanted to emphasize that it’s OK to not enjoy the holidays, or get into the spirit, especially if you’re going through a hard season in life. But despite my attempts, I couldn’t put it into words.
Then tragedy hit our family. We lost one of our own suddenly, without warning, the day after Christmas. Bill was a husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, cousin, brother, dog dad and friend. He would give you the shirt off his back, no questions asked. He never knew a stranger.
He had a great sense of humor and could make people laugh. Once, when I asked if he supported a certain political candidate, the look he gave me (you know, the one where I must be out of my mind) made me laugh and face palm at the same time.
I keep thinking of those who were close to him, those who saw him regularly. My mother lost a cousin who was like a brother. My dad lost a friend and colleague who helped him with so many projects over the years. His coworkers lost someone who made their day a little easier, a little brighter. And his wife lost her world that day.
Bill’s passing affected so many. These people may not share the tragedy with those who didn’t know him. They will probably try to put on a “brave face” and soldier on as if they are not suffering. After all life continues even when our hearts are breaking. But it may show in other ways – anger, sadness, disinterest or just a sense of being lost.
Maybe you’re dealing with someone like that in your own life, someone who is acting out of character. Or maybe it’s someone you’ve never met and you’re thinking, wow, what a jerk. Maybe there’s more to the story than you know. It doesn’t hurt to be kind.
Maybe you know that someone going through a rough season of life. Offer to do something specific for them – pick up their kids, cook them a meal or just sit with them and let them know they’re not alone. Be kind.
Or maybe you’re the one trying to hold it all together. Maybe you’re snapping at people, not holding up your end of the conversation or bursting into tears for no reason. Maybe you’re not acting like yourself. We all struggle from time to time. Be kind to yourself.
You never know what your actions and words will mean to someone.