It always has been, for many people. People of colour, people with certain religious beliefs, disabled people, women… Some folks know the face of hatred and bigotry more than others. And for them, the world has always had a vile side.
But now, in the western world (my focus for the moment) we’re seeing a truly terrible backlash against what strides forward we’ve made. Civil rights are under attack. People are scared. Things feel out of control and dangerous.
And then…you leave the bigger world for a moment. You go into hospital for a minor, experimental procedure. It’s a little scary. You’re alone, surrounded by other people who are also alone. But then the smiles come. Staff who are overworked and underpaid, who often come under attack for being ‘not good enough’ in some way, are all about…kindness.
They ask if you need anything. Are you warm enough? Need any water? Not too long now…you’re next.
And then, even with needles in hand, they explain every step. They ask about your writing, about your homeland. The nurse tells you honestly it’s going to hurt, takes hold of your hand, and tells you to swear all you want. Then walks you through breathing to help you through. Done. Then full explanations about what to expect, what to do, handshakes, and good wishes for the next book.
In a world turned politically upside down, take a second to notice just the piece of life around you. Just for a moment, look at how kind, how helpful, people can be. And…be one of those people. Sure, don’t stop resisting. Don’t stop raising your voice. But remember, too, to step back and help those on the ground with you. A gentle word, a kind smile, opening a door. These small acts ripple out, growing larger, touching more yet more people. Little things can make us bigger people, and remind us of the value of what we’re fighting for.