Before we were all ushered into these unprecedented times, I had actually been thinking about the following saying for last few months,
“Be kind, for you never know what someone else is going through”
Or as the philosopher Socrates is credited with saying,
“Be kind, because everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”
Forget about coronavirus, for a moment. Normal life can be tough enough. You never know what hard things people are dealing with out there. The same people you and I interact with on a daily basis may very well be going through unbelievable hardship and pain.
So life is already tough… But maybe coronavirus, and the global panic that has followed, has been a fresh reminder of the suffering of others. In fact, it seems to me that both the Center for Disease Control’s recommendations and the message from world governments could be boiled down to one thing: be kind. Show kindness during this hard time. Be considerate of others around you. Young people, you may recover from this new form of the flu, but be kind, and remember all the elderly and “at-risk” people around you that would not fare so well. All of us, remember the doctors and healthcare professionals, who will be overrun if we do not “flatten the curve” of spread and outbreak. Many also have been reminding us about the small business owners, especially in the restaurant and entertainment industries, asking us to support them during this hard economic time.
Why was I already thinking about this?
In January of this year, I had a flare up of a health condition I live with. There are several names for it, but basically the top of my stomach doesn’t work. No matter how healthy my diet is, the amount of medication I take, how hard I exercise, the top of my stomach just doesn’t want to close all the way. This can led to severe reflux in my esophagus, throat, and all the way up into my sinuses. In fact, extreme inflammation in my sinuses allowed my ENT physician to first diagnosis me with this disease. I also have pretty bad allergies, especially dust allergies. And unfortunately for me, dust is everywhere.
Although my health conditions don’t make me an “at-risk” person, here’s what I can do with my moderate amount pain and discomfort: I can use it to fuel empathy for other people’s pain. I can use my own challenges as a reminder of the challenges of others.
As I said before, I think the recent pandemic has basically forced us to think about others. And here is the question: how many people out there are like me? You would never know they have all this stuff going on. Maybe they are even an “at-risk” person. They may seem to have a great life… especially on social media, because everybody looks great and healthy and happy and successful on social media. But maybe they are actually facing things that I have no idea about.
How do I grow in kindness?
Now here is where you and I may differ. In my life, I’ve found that no matter how hard I try to be better, I fall short of being the person I want to be. I give it my best, but just to fall again into the same selfishness or impatience or whatever. I need help. I need something or someone outside of myself to show me how to love, and be kind, at a higher level. Now you may not agree with me here… and you know what? That is okay. Did you hear that? It’s okay to disagree with me. I respect you, and I respect people who have a different philosophy and/or spirituality than me. I pray that you would respect my faith and spirituality in return.
So, I am just speaking from my personal experience but what I found to be true is: I need to know the love of God before I can love others like I want to… but I could write a whole other post about my experience with the love of God.
Again, the main point of this post is simply: be kind. During these trying times, be kind. Even when the person is different than you, be kind. When they are similar to you, be kind. When they hold different political opinions than you, be kind. If they annoy you, be kind. If you’re in a bad mood that day (I know it’s hard), but be kind. You never know what someone else is facing or how hard their battle is.