The Kindness of Strangers

The last two weeks of my life have been slow and I’ve had a lot of time to experience the irony of our current state of being in America. First, I have to be honest here and say I don’t watch television very much. It’s just a personal choice. However, being a complete science geek, I’ve been glued to the T.V. since Sunday watching Hurricane Sandy make it’s way to the East Coast of the US, making landfall, and affecting the weather over my head here in Ohio. We are on day  seven of rain and clouds and wind, still experiencing the backside of that huge low pressure system. Many of my neighbors are still without power. Watching the aftermath coverage, I see people helping each other, politicians working together, us coming together to do whatever we need to do to help.

And then there is a commercial break and I’m subjected to the horrible, negative political adds. The divisiveness of this county, the mean spiritness of the adds and the things I see posted on friends FB pages is the direct opposite of what I’d seen just a moment before.

So, I wonder what is going on here? How can we help each other, do unto others, send love into the world and yet be so mean and hateful? It makes no sense to me. Who are we as a people, as a country, as human beings?

Having experienced the kindness of everyone I encountered in a hospital two weeks ago, I want to desperately believe that most people are innately good and want to share their compassion and love with others on a personal basis. Are those the same folks who would scream and argue with me because I may not agree with their politics?

Maybe we are not trying hard enough to know each other and make those personal connections that allow us to see each other and the similarities we share just trying to make it through each day.

No answers here – just wondering. What do you think?  


4 thoughts on “The Kindness of Strangers

  1. Missy Toms says:

    Social media is like driving a car. Even though people can see you, you are somewhat anonymous. Like road rage, the majority of people who attack your opinions on Facebook would never do so in person. They’re either too afraid to challenge someone in person, or they know their opinions are just that…not facts that they can back up with concrete evidence. Hopefully once the elections are over, people will embrace civility once again.

    • traceywc29 says:

      You are so right. Civility is what we are lacking, which is a shame because then we scream at each other instead of working together to solve the problems at hand.

  2. Katie says:

    I hate to be a downer, but I think people tend to be nice when it feels good to be nice, and are less inclined when the payoff isn’t as great. I heard a story on NPR that said that studies demonstrate that we enjoy feeling altruistic, but that we enjoy being perceived as altruistic much more.

    I had to end a friendship with someone recently who I am pretty sure is a narcissist. She was invariably pleasant and helpful to my face, but then she would cross my boundaries repeatedly when we weren’t directly interacting, simply because she didn’t agree with my notions of what was appropriate. I’ve never experienced psychological whiplash like that. I felt like I was going crazy, and questioned my very ability to process the data in front of me. It has made me a less idealistic person, for better or worse . . . and I didn’t handle it perfectly, either.

    • traceywc29 says:

      That is a sad experience Katie – thanks for sharing it. I feel we all have experiences like that at one point or another as we learn to stay away from people who are toxic. I’m sure you did the best you could and learned from it. We never stop learning, do we?
      I also wonder if people are driven by what the media is telling us we should feel rather than how we really feel? In this busy world, it is easier to just go through life in a numb sort of way rather than stop and examine our true feelings.
      Thanks for commenting!

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