The clock reads 12:41 AM. It is now officially January 20th, 2017.
I can't sleep.
Chances are good I'll be out of a job soon. The presidential inauguration in a few hours will affect all of us. The details are unknown, but all predictions and promises are terrifying to me. Targeted attacks on the vulnerable members of society, the artists and intellectuals...we know how this story historically goes. Intentions to de-fund the National Endowment for the Humanities would end my 15 year career as I know it, but that's not what is keeping me awake.
My mind is fixating on the challenge of kindness in all this. How I can be kinder. I feel so hurt, discouraged, and disheartened. I just want to find it in myself to grow kinder.
I am often awkwardly shy. I am not good at small talk. My social skills are inexplicably bad when it comes to things like simple interactions at cash registers and ordering pizza over the phone. And it's killing me right now, knowing these are just excuses for what boils down to a lack of energy for kindness.
What I mean is that every interaction we have is an opportunity to break free of our insecurities for the sake of human kindness. I have kind intentions, and am often capable of kind gestures. I know I am a good friend and many of my friends would claim I'm kind. But considering all that is going wrong around me, all the mean and cruel and disappointingly flawed humans flaunting themselves, I can think of nothing harder, yet more important, than to learn to be kinder.
I have a friend whose kindness is so disarming it is saintly. Her kindness is genuine and intelligent and wise. Does one have to be born with such a natural disposition toward kindness, or can I learn from her? Can I push myself to bother to be kinder? What will it take, on my part? And how can we inspire it in each other?
Thanks for reading.
As I got to know more people who are truly involved, showing up to all the meetings, and taking care of this neighborhood, I was even more inspired. And also humbled. I know so little about what is actually going on around here. And there is so, so, so much going on in this thriving Cap-East district (more development proposals and projects than I can count). My kids are getting older, and busier, and I don't have the bandwidth to keep up, let alone comment intelligently.
But I believe there will be even more going on, and much of it will be inspiring thanks to all these good people around me, so maybe it will make sense to write more about it here. More unknowns. But why not hope?