• Lara Flanagan

If you can be anything, be kind

Recently, I was sitting with a fellow-Tenterdfieldian as we waited for the sun to rise. The dawn hours are the witching hours, and we were both waxing lyrical about nothing in particular and a little bit of everything. It has been a crazy few years and one of the things that my companion ruminated on was, “when did people forget to be kind?”

It reminded me of one of my favourite quotes by Kurt Vonnegut, “Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you’ve got a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies – ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”

It has been a turbulent few years and the world is in crisis. As result, so too seem to be people. Experiencing the drought and fires as a country girl, reminded me of the enormity of the human spirit. People were heroic and magnificent. The pandemic, on the other hand, seemed to bring out the crazy in the crazies, and in many instances, people forgot to be kind.

We can’t control what happens to us, but we can control how we react, how we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and attempt to face the world.

I had a fellow come into the gallery this morning who barked at me as soon as I said good morning, “Damnit I am only looking, I am just looking.” I had simply said good morning, yet he made me feel icky. He might have been having a really bad morning, day, decade or life, but regardless, he had forgotten how to be kind.

On the other hand, I had the sweetest lady come in after him who smiled at me when I said good morning and gave me the opportunity to say, “please feel free to browse as long as you like and yell if I can help with anything.” She stayed for about 10 minutes and like the man didn’t buy anything. But when she left she thanked me. She thanked me for the beautiful space and said it helped her heart feel better. Like the man, I suspect this lady too had had a bad morning, day, or decade. She wore it in her eyes, but they were also bottomless pits of kindness.

Instead of feeling icky, she made my heart swell with gratitude.

It is so easy to be kind. If we can be anything, we should be kind.

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