Kathleen Crevasse recently shared on her Facebook page, “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”
That’s nice, I thought to myself. Maybe I’ll remember to be kind.
A few minutes later, after scrolling down and becoming absorbed in my friend’s trip to South America, I clicked on a photograph of Mercury and immediately clicked an ad for vegan leather that is created from cactus. I wondered how warm it was in Argentina and what kind of camera was used to photograph Mercury. It looked like a perfect soft red ball. Regarding vegan leather, I contemplated using kudzu to make shoes, like the pair that just popped up on my feed made from plastic bottles. Just as I was counting all the money I was getting ready to make by (kindly) harvesting the mountain’s kudzu, Margaret Johnson’s post popped up. “Tip your server. Return your shopping cart. Pick up a piece of trash. Hold the door for the person behind you. Let someone into your lane. Small acts can have a ripple effect. That’s how we change the world,” it said.
I stopped scrolling and started to reconsider being kind, knowing if I’d seen a post on my friend in Japan, I’d be thinking about sushi and heading to Pinterest for easy recipes. But I didn’t. I saw a post about specific ways to implement kindness several times a day, just after a message that I live in a place where I can choose to be irritated or hurried or sad, but I should choose to be kind.
I felt like I was getting a DM (direct message) from my higher power, so I thought about kindness for a minute. I consider myself to be fairly kind. I always tip and try to return my shopping cart unless it is very far away and there is a cluster of them stacked safely on the curb all together. I never, ever would dream of littering, but I don’t always pick up other people’s trash. I try to take an extra Food City bag with me when I walk so I can collect litter, but just like leaving the cute recycling bags in the car more often than not, I don’t always have a little trash bag with me. So I just leave the trash.
It’s easy to hold the door for the person behind me, but not always easy to let someone into my lane of traffic. Lots of times I’m afraid I’ll cause a wreck by slowing down so a car can cut in front, but plenty of times I’ve already let a few cars in front of me and not one of them waved their gratitude, so I’m not as lovely about it.
I think my HP is telling me something. I think it’s telling me not to get wrought up over how much I am validated by my acts of kindness. The validation doesn’t matter. The kindness does.
(Ferris Robinson is the author of two children's books, "The Queen Who Banished Bugs" and "The Queen Who Accidentally Banished Birds," in her pollinator series, with "Call Me Arthropod" coming soon. "Making Arrangements" is her first novel, and "Dogs and Love - Stories of Fidelity" is a collection of true tales about man's best friend. Her website is ferrisrobinson.com. She is the editor of The Lookout Mountain Mirror and The Signal Mountain Mirror. Ferris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)