I don’t even care that I have breast cancer right now. I really don’t. Do you know what I’m distraught about? I’m grieved that the parents of two Park Christian students had to bury their sons this week. I’m grieved because it feels like the entire nation is divided over recent decisions by the Supreme Court. I’m grieved because a man in Fargo, 10 blocks from where I used to live, was killed when he answered the door to a guy asking for a glass of water. I’m grieved because nine people were killed in South Carolina during a Bible study. I’m grieved because I got an emergency phone call from the police department stating that a minivan was stolen with a child in the backseat.
Enough. It is enough.
I want to lock my whole family in the house and refuse to let anyone in or out.
I want to stand on top of a mountain with a megaphone and scream for everyone to just BE KIND.
But since neither of those options will produce the results I’m longing for, I will do the next best thing. I will be kind. Me. I will be kind.
I will simply do what I can today to make the world a little bit better for the people around me. I won’t worry about what the fallout will be from smiling at a stranger or giving money to a neighbor in need. I will just do what I can do today.
We live in a free country where we can set off fireworks and buy guns and worship or not worship. That kind of freedom comes with risk. We are like children who are given a taste of adulthood and get to pick their own bedtime or eat as many treats as they’d like. But as we know, that sort of freedom means we have to pay bills and act responsibly, or we will wind up needing a nap and aching from too much sugar.
What I am trying to say is this: None of us has mastered life. We all get it wrong just as much as we get it right. So give the people around you some grace. When they are hurting because they have lost a child or a friend in some senseless accident, sit with them. Don’t worry about taking a side or getting angry on their behalf. Simply sit in the uncomfortable silence until it becomes comfortable. There is no “right thing to say,” so don’t worry about saying anything. Let your kindness speak for you.
When politics come between you and a friend, ask yourself, “Is it more important to be right or to salvage this relationship?”
Again, I implore you, give others some grace. We never know what path they are walking. And while you are at it, give yourself some grace, too.
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107.
Nicole J. Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is a writer, speaker and mother of three kids. Nicole is married to Ohio University’s Men’s Head Basketball Coach Saul Phillips. Her column runs every Saturday. You can visit Nicole at nicolejphillips.com.