I’m writing over at The Glorious Table today! Here’s a preview:
I was deep into a project for work when my son knocked on my door. I could tell he was excited about something, so I paused and invited him in. He had found a video on YouTube of a homeless man receiving a free makeover.
As I watched the video with my son, I also observed him viewing it for at least the second time. I couldn’t help but smile. Joy filled my soon-to-be teenager’s face in a way I hadn’t seen very often in the last year. As he left to move on with his day, I couldn’t help but feel relieved by the level of compassion I’d witnessed. I was cheering in my head and heart and celebrating a parenting win when I began to wonder what had made him seek out a YouTube video like that.
The world has seemed especially harsh lately. Social media exacerbates this behavior in many ways, but it isn’t contained to sites like Facebook anymore. I’ve described it as people revealing their true feelings, but I think the sharp tongues and cruel words spoken without concern for others have begun to go further than feelings. It’s hard to hear or read some of the words daily covering social media or being spoken to strangers without wondering if anger is becoming the dominant emotion of the country.
I admit that I, too, have had a lazy tongue in certain circumstances. The easy response to cruelty is to push back as hard or harder. Whether it’s a comment about a failed recipe attempt or an expression of prejudice, the root of the reaction is the same, and it’s not kindness. When I witness someone being unkind, my instinct is to repay that unkindness with my own brand of unkindness. I want to snap back. I want the offender to hurt as deeply as they have wounded, and I find myself lacking a desire to respond with compassion or kindness. Continue reading here