“It’s a mean, mean world …”

If Walt Disney had been around during 2015, I wonder if he would have been tempted to change the words to his signature song.  All of the arguing, bashing, name calling, division, riots, anger, suspicion, sarcasm, violence … it just seemed like a mean year, didn’t it?

I’ve tried to be intentional about talking to people more this year … strangers in particular.  Have started during the holidays by asking cashiers at the mall and grocery store what they’re looking forward to in 2016.  Have mostly been hearing about personal goals.  I have some personal goals too.  I also have a big, hairy, audacious goal simply called KINDNESS.

I want the world to become a kinder place.

It’s likely that I am not alone on this, but I’m taking it on as my own personal crusade.

And you now what?  It’s harder than I thought.

I mean … a smile or a probing question isn’t so hard and that’s how I’m starting.  But kind actions that put me out of my comfort zone … that is a little harder … I have to admit.

Example in point, Mike and I always talk about how we should reach beyond ourselves  on holidays.  We’ve done it a couple of times over the years … once helped serve meals at a restaurant on Thanksgiving … another time read stories at a women’s shelter on Christmas Eve, but years seem to slip in between these gestures and thus, that’s what they became, just gestures.

This year, we talked about how we didn’t have any plans for New Years Eve.  Maybe we could take some hot soup to some of the homeless people we see hanging out at a nearby bus stop, because “Baby! It’s COLD outside!!”

I don’t know where they came from (well, actually I do) but thousands of nasty little negative thoughts crowded in.

“You might get hurt.”

“You might offend them.”

“You might mistake someone for homeless who’s not.” (Which we ended up doing, but he didn’t care.)

“You are only taking out six mugs of soup, what difference can that make.”

“The need is so great, why even bother.”

“If you try to help, they won’t go to the shelters where they can get real help.”

Wow! And that’s only a few of the dark thoughts.  Why is being kind so hard?

That’s probably for another blog … because for me, the reality is that I’m not a naturally kind person.  It’s God’s kindness that has changed me and if I don’t hang around Him much, I don’t tend to want to do kind things.

However, when I look over 2015 and see how dark and cold and mean our world was I’m a bit ashamed of myself.

So here’s to 2016 a warmer and kinder year … at least from where I sit.

(Oh … and we did find five takers on the soup and the bags of goodies we had.  Next time we’ll have some dry socks with us as well.)