The Inconvenience of Kindness

French Apple Cake

What a place we’ve made of this world. In the last week, we’ve seen Paris attacked by terrorists. Beirut, too. There have been countless other tragedies, including a handful in Africa that resulted in similarly unnecessary deaths, but without the same attention.

Don’t you care about the people who don’t look like you? 

You’re racists for using that French profile on Facebook. What about all the others suffering?

Oh, how quick we are to lash out at others — even in how we are grieving. There is no grievance police.

Fast forward a few days, and the debate currently underway in my social sphere is whether or not to ban refugees from coming into our communities.

They’re ISIS. We can’t know who they really are!

We don’t have the resources.

We don’t take good enough care of our own!

I don’t have any answers to the many hard questions we are facing as a specie. I do not understand how a person could be so angered they would want to kill another. What I do know is our community is fractured. Until we figure out how to have civil discourse about the things we disagree upon, we’re no better than cave men throwing stones at each other. Sure, the proverbial stones today may be snide remarks on social media — but the lack of discourse is precisely the same.

I do not agree that more war will produce peace, but I’m willing to listen to those who support further military action. I do not agree that restricting refugees will result in less safe communities, but I’ll hear you out. I do not agree that the world has to be a place of us vs. them.

It’s just us.

This week, let’s live our lives following the old hippie bumper sticker motto: think globally, act locally. Make your community stronger by being inconvenienced with kindness. Meet your neighbors. Donate blood. Pick up trash. Help someone who is not deserving of your help, and do it with a smile.

I cannot solve the issue of international terrorism, but I sure as hell can make sure the old lady who lives next door to me is getting enough to eat. I can make sure the kids in my home hear every day that they are smart and can accomplish whatever they want in life. I can ask more questions and try to hear a person’s story before blindly passing judgment.

It’s just us.

We can take better care of our own, we can provide refuge to those escaping persecution and we can live in a peaceful world, but we have to get there together.

~K