Ellen, GWB, and Kindness

Ellen DeGeneres is all over Facebook this morning. Apparently she was sitting with George Bush at the Packers’ game in Dallas the other day. And some of her fans were questioning that, because of all of his stuff from back in the day. We all know it, so no sense dragging that up. She addressed it on her show yesterday. She said that when she says to Be Kind to Everyone, she means everyone, not just those who think like you do. And I just love that. We aren’t always getting a lot of that these days.

I like Ellen. I don’t get to watch her show too often, but she is incredibly funny, and she has a great way of dealing with all kinds of people. She comes across as someone you know. Like she could be your friend, if she just had access to you. But that message of kindness, that carries a lot of weight. Not like a burden, but like a beacon. Something to aim towards and follow until you get there. You come to it over time, and it isn’t always easy, but it is possible. Some people make it difficult, I find that a lot working with the public. I have to often stop and remind myself that it isn’t me they are being unpleasant to, just the world that they feel is being hard on them.

What does kindness mean? How do you “do it?” Well, there isn’t just one way, to be honest. It can be as simple as smiling at someone as you pass them. Opening a door for someone at the store. Some people like a grander gesture, like paying for the car behind them in a drive-thru. But it isn’t just that, I don’t think. It is the way you carry yourself. I try to walk by people with my head up, making eye contact and giving a wink or a smile to people. But some people don’t look back, so they might have needed that more than others, but for whatever their reason is, they didn’t receive the smile. That doesn’t mean I chase them down and say “See me smiling at you!!!” But keep moving on to the next person. Keep trying.

Last night was a slower night at work, which ended up to be a blessing, because one of my regulars needed an ear. Personal family stuff, not my place to discuss it here, but I listened. And that was a kindness. She needed a few words, and I gave her that. It was just reassuring her, because she knew what the right thing is, she just wanted the time to tell it and to get a hug. That’s free, I can give that type of kindness all day long. And she left feeling better, and I felt great knowing I could give that to her.

People walk through life with happiness, worries, fun thoughts and stress, all at the same time. We are emotions, feeling joy and sadness, elation and crushing weight, and many things in between. You can never know what a person feels, unless they explain it to you and even then it is hard to grasp at times. If a person comes across as crabby, out of sorts, there is likely something that caused that mood. Just like when someone is happy, something makes that happen too. You find a way to get through each of those situations. But if someone outside of yourself offers you a kindness, it will help. If it lifts a burden, even for only a moment, it has an effect that can ripple like throwing a pebble in a pond. It spreads out, and goes on and on.

I lost Ellen somewhere in all of this. But what she said matters. Kindness matters. She watched a football game with George Bush. She watched the Packers triumph over the Cowboys, so she saw something good. I doubt either of them were interested in solving their political differences over nachos and beer in that moment. And that is what I take from it, really. I was writing about sports the other day. I love the sporting events, you can sit next to any random person, and the two of you can be as different as day and night. But in that window of a game, you will not think about who you voted for, what SOB is doing what in Washington, or who is marrying each other. You are in the moment, watching the game. We can be together at a game every day, if we stop and remember that we are all fans of this life. When you order your beer, you help the guy next to you pass the money and beer back and forth, and never worry about the exchange. A little kindness can do that in the real world too.

And at the end of the day, when the Packers win, the kindness carries through, I hope for all of you. So please disregard any memes I shared after the game, that was not my display of kindness, just sharing my joy. But after that, Be Kind, always. Ellen said so. I guess I did too. Enjoy your day.

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