Kindness and love. These words seem simple enough. You and I both know they aren’t.
Why is it difficult for the world to show these emotions? “Don’t use the word hate, Les,” my dad would always say. “You don’t hate anyone.”
Are you sure, Dad? I hated the bully in the school lunch line who picked on my sister. I hated the guy who crushed my heart in college. I hated the teacher who had no patience for my lack of math skills. I hated the interview I failed and the slow cashier in the check-out line and the guy who cut me off in traffic.
Hate. Hate. Hate.
That’s the easy emotion. Kindness is much more difficult.
Why? Why is it so hard to just show love?
This week a friend of mine passed away. He lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. We were all fighting for him, praying and hoping by some miraculous cure, he would be saved. God had different plans for him.
I hate that.
I hate that I don’t understand why he had to die at such a young age. Isn’t that how life tends to work? Hate most always comes from a lack of understanding. And so we spew mean words to the person who cut us off in traffic because we don’t know what he’s been through today. We show hate towards others who are different than us, because we can’t possibly understand why they would be that way.
Hate rolls off our tongues so easily. We are all guilty of this emotion.
But here’s what I’m learning through each passing day. Hate may be an easy emotion to display, but it’s not a way to live. Have you ever yelled at someone and then spent the day feeling gross because of your actions?
It’s more fun to love and live and accept and appreciate this incredible life we’ve been given and the people in it. I know this isn’t a new concept, but with each generation it’s our responsibility to spread the information. It’s not about some politically correct movement. It’s not about the religion you practice or the area of the country in which you live. If you’re a breathing soul, kindness should be remembered and showed each day.
Even if you hate it.
I saw it this week. Maybe you did, too? When Caitlyn Jenner stood on stage and accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. The amount of hate in that moment was felt across the globe. I heard your words, I felt your anger. I’m not here to say you’re wrong or right. Who am I to claim such a title? But gosh, guys, let’s show kindness. Let’s show love, even if we don’t understand. Isn’t that a better way to live? Doesn’t that help you wake up each morning and work each day and sleep each night?
The last words my friend wrote to me were this. He said, “I have tears streaming down my cheeks. I am so humbled by all the nice things that people have said. I love you both.”
Three simple sentences from a dying man with words we all need to remember; love, kindness, humility. There was no hatred in his voice, no need for anger, only peace.
I may not understand this life, maybe you don’t, either. But I do know that the days and weeks and months and years that await us all, will be better lived through kindness.
Pass it on, my friend. Pass it on.