That is not necessarily a bad thing considering over the past two decades our society as a whole has evolved into something less genial and far more skeptical than we were when I was a kid. If you doubt me than take a moment to watch the evening news and tell me how many times the “robbery”, “murder”, “drugs”, “incest”, “rape” and so on are mentioned. I get it; it’s a fact of life. These things happen despite law enforcements best efforts because there are selfish, evil people out there in the world and even in our own communities.
In our home we often feel like we are besieged by this depressing news and in response what do we as humans do? We fortify ourselves from the evil by securing our property, our families, our possessions and ourselves in every way possible. We don’t offer people rides because we are afraid that they might try to rob, maim or violate us. We don’t talk to people on the plane because they are dressed a certain way. We refuse to be more than friendly to people at the soccer fields, the basketball courts or the football fields because we don’t know who they are and what they are capable of so it’s best not to let them in where they could possibly harm or defame us. We have become cautious to a fault.
There is a fine line between being guarded and being egotistical. I know the difference between being careful and being downright arrogant. Sometimes we as people defend our bigotry with just being watchful. I don’t have a big network of friends because over the years I decided that ignoring everyone else was the best way to stay drama-free. But by ignoring everyone else I have fallen into the same pit of hypocrisy that I condemn other people with by not allowing them a moment of my time to be kind and courteous.
The problem with this attitude is that by doing so we sometimes harden our minds and our hearts from caring for other people. We can say that we care for other people but until we show that we do in our demeanor, our conduct, our actions, our attitude we are just really saying ‘I will love you from a distance,’ or ‘I love you but I have to keep my gloves on so my hands don’t get dirty.’
The media has exacerbated this attitude of coolness, this distant and unapproachable mindset towards another human being because of the prevalence of evil on television, the Internet, on the radio, in magazines and in nearly every aspect of life. But even with all of the negativity surrounding us I still see a need for us to comfort, heal and attend to the needy in body, mind and spirit and you can’t do that if you can’t stand to be around other people let alone see and feel their needs.
Sometimes people aren’t looking for helping hang they just want to know that there are good people who return a polite smile, see a sympathetic soul when their kid is crying in the supermarket, feels the humanity of others in warm handshake or a kind ‘hello’.
Okay maybe I’m weird but I think, especially during this season of giving that there is more power in a smile than a cold shoulder. There is more grace in civility than in haughtiness. I’m convinced that if I do my best to be an example of love and be especially kind to those who shun kindness because they are suspicious of my intentions, than perhaps they will come to understand that I only want to be a better person and that the only thing I really want in return is for them to acknowledge that they can love a little more with a little less mistrust in humanity.