I've recently been on a news break. Cloistered in my tiny world, ignoring external events. What goes on "out there" can be scary, overwhelming and disheartening. So several times a year I just turn it off and reset my world-view to something more positive than what the news portrays.
Sometimes, however, the world reaches through my bubble and reminds me of how pervasive some less positive human tendencies can be. Recently I was at our local grocery (Doris Italian Market and Bakery - the smells alone are worth the trip! Yum!) and was waiting for my turn at the deli counter. The man behind the counter finally called my number, then said "hello" and asked how I was doing. I answered, and then asked how his day was going. And he stopped, dumbfounded, and struggled for an answer. "Are you ok?" I inquired. He was. Just shocked. Why? Because in all his years behind that counter, no one had ever asked him how HE was doing. He was unprepared for simple politeness and kindness. We had a lovely chat, forged a human connection, and both resolved to spread more simple kindness in the world.
Now I know this isn't a big deal relative to the really serious stuff going on out there. But it is an indicator...how callous can a world be when this guy is shocked by polite conversation? And it is also a lesson for me. The smallest kindness, the simplest question, a genuine interest in someone else can have a positive impact in the world. Even when the news is bleak, there is work to be done and goodness to be spread in our everyday lives. I truly appreciated this moment and the lesson. Wherever we are, lives matter.
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