Existing on this planet feels particularly tough at the moment. In the UK the past few weeks have seen attacks on innocent people, and more horror and sadness that any of us wanted to imagine. It’s impossible to comprehend let alone accept what’s been happening, or the pain and suffering that those affected, their families and friends are going through.
And if any comfort at all can be taken at such an awful time, I am trying to take some from the very fact that we find it so hard to get our heads around such cruelty. Because finding it difficult shows that most of us are good people who would never hurt anyone intentionally. We’re here to love and look after one another, to use our days to experience laughter and joy, and to demonstrate kindness whenever we can.
Most of us do this on a small-scale, day-to-day basis – perhaps to a friend or a colleague, or maybe even to a stranger should the opportunity arise. And others take it to the next level – signing up to be nothing short of heroic as and when the moment requires. And for those people there can never be a sufficient level of gratitude.
Living in London means it’s the norm to joke about the level to which we Londoners ignore/sigh at/silently despise one another whilst commuting or attempting to make progress down Oxford Street. It’s a busy city and I’m as guilty as anyone of getting annoyed about the pettiest of things, and of putting my head down and just trying to get around without yelling at anybody.
But there’s a big difference between cynicism about the pain-in-the-arse daily grind, and actually not giving a damn about other people. Because we do care really, and never is that more apparent than when it really matters.
And it’s this knowledge – that the vast majority of people are good and kind and, normally, just trying to get from A to B – that I’m trying to hold onto today. Feelings of despair and confusion are an inevitable part of dealing with reports of such cruelty – and it’s important to make time for them – but then hope comes from focusing on the positive side of humanity. The sweet joy of having the freedom to live the life you want to live, the love and loyalty we can show our friends, and the bottomless pot of kindness forever at our disposal.
All being well, we’re going to be having a baby in November. (A less serious post will inevitably follow about the endless joy of the first trimester, I’m sure). We’ve a long way to go but, as you do, we’ve found ourselves wandering around shops and spotting things we’d like to put in the baby’s room. And one such item is a picture that reads: It’s cool to be kind.
After this weekend, I’m surer than ever that I’m going to buy it, because there’s no better lesson we can teach our child. And it won’t do us any harm to be reminded of that fact everyday, too.