People are in a lot of pain. Sometimes we can get so caught up in our misery, we fail to see that almost everybody around us is miserable as well. If we can focus our attention on somebody else, it would serve several purposes.
It would distract us from our own woes: I imagine that would be very welcome! It would also make us realize we are not alone in suffering: although people can put up a good act, there is hardly a person who is not struggling to deal with life! But perhaps most importantly, it will allow us to be a Good Samaritan to somebody in pain! Often, all it takes is a kind word, and with social communication being what it is today, we don’t really have any excuse not to reach out to at least a couple of people every day.
Many of us have made it a habit to forward an encouraging image or message we have received to friends. (If you don’t, start! It’s passing hope around!) This is wonderful, but adding a little note addressed to the friend makes it personal and meaningful. “Hi Mark, I was thinking of you today. I hope you are well. Here’s a message I just received that I thought you might like.” Or: “Hello Susan, It’s been a while since we were in touch. How are you doing? Check this image out.”
But we can do the same thing when we *meet* people as well. We can say a kind word to the grocery store check-out girl, the petrol station attendant, or just somebody we bump into. To avoid any misunderstanding, we might want to compliment people of our gender, but we should make this a habit. What do we have to lose? I know they might seem like bandaids, but these little gestures can make a world of difference to somebody who is struggling to deal with life. During my time in the wilderness, the little notes of kindness that people sent me took me through some of the darkest moments.
We often complain we live in an apathetic world where nobody cares for anyone anymore, but we have to realize that we made the world what it is today. And, if it is to change, we have to become the change we would like to see, just like Gandhi said. For those who want to know what Jesus said, remember the Golden Rule. “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31). We want people to be kind to us; it is only fitting that we are kind to others.
So, who do you want to be kind to today, dear friend?