Social media has made the playing field of platitudes, bromides and cliche’s a plethora, if not an infestation of words in which sincerity can’t be discerned. It has become too easy to state opinions or feelings without having to back them with an action or responsibility for following through with what has been written. In many ways, it’s discounted the power of a word, even words of kindness.
The foundation of all I believe to be good has not been based off of a word, a song or sermon, but the kind actions of others. People going out of their way to help. People seeing a need and selflessly stopping their lives to help meet the deficiency.
When my Mom died in my mid-teens, I was left to pay my way through my world with her social security check and trusting the kindness of people to understand a young boy needed a parent figure to help with basic needs at times. Then, my Father’s death followed some years later and the the prison of grief and shock from this event sent me spiraling into a deep, exhausting depression. Again, I was unable to tend to my basic needs, but dependent on the kind actions of others. Some of this action was a deep commitment and wasn’t limited to a one time scenario of help.
After many years, I thought I had grown past my need for help, but over the last year I have found myself in the same dilemma from my teen years. Raising a cousin’s child who is layered with many special needs has proven to be an exhausting physical and mental task. Then, you layer multiple close family members dying and serious illness of close relatives and you find yourself at the same place. I know there are countless people suffering from even greater experiences than mine.
It’s the friends who came and cleaned my house when I had to leave suddenly for a funeral, who kept my faith in goodness. It’s the ones who have taken the kid and cared for him to give me a break, who keep my belief in love. It’s those simple gestures of just being present and distracting me from the realities I can’t change that have made all of the difference. It’s the individuals who see the basic needs of everyday life and help. It’s people going out of their way to be more than a blip on a computer screen, a text on a phone or even a voice giving words of condolence or opinion.
We are all links in a chain called community/family and we all have to stick together by being present in each others’ lives. It’s not always simple or easy and sometimes it involves some inconvenience on our part. Love, family, friendship and community are more than terms to be written about, but they are living action. It means asserting energy to help. The strength in showing kindness doesn’t always line up with our perfect plans, but it always ends up being better than what we had on our agendas.