Back to back "It's A Wonderful Life" moments yesterday reminded me that I rarely have any idea of what's really going on in other people's lives. And how important it is, then, for me to be as kind and generous as possible. Always.
First, the multi-talented sorceress who is my hairstylist started crying as she told me how much it has meant to her, year after year, to see me parade around in my Santa Hat. That no matter how tough things may have been, seeing that Hat has been comforting. A reassurance to her that the holidays are here no matter what, offering a time of color and joy and light to all who will partake.
Right after I returned home from the salon, my son's friend came over to play. The boy's lovely mom brought him to the door. She then shared that this blog had inspired her to reciprocate spontaneously a generous gesture by a crew who had just taken down a beloved, old tree seriously damaged by the recent storm. The mutual thoughtfulness made everybody feel better.
It's been ironic, to say the least, that every time I sit down to write another post for thisy here blog, my home page displays the local newspaper's array of human tragedy. Unspeakable violence. Torture. Evil. Many times, the heaviness in my heart drains the energy from my hands after seeing those headlines. Haunted by those faces.
How can I possibly write something so seemingly superficial about a Santa Hat in the face of all that darkness? Am I a deluded sap? Well, yes. There is that ...
But also, I really do believe that in the face of destructiveness, I have to trumpet creativity and joy and kindness even more. So crucial in and of themselves, but also as a counterbalance. An antidote to the inevitable dark side.
And what wearing this Hat teaches me over and over and over again is that it matters. Even though I may not realize that it helps other folks. Even though it's difficult sometimes. Especially when my smiling eyes have to navigate a vast sea of disbelieving, even contemptuous, stares.
Not only may it make someone feel better, the Santa Hat may actually inspire someone to spread the good will. Another ripple of kindness.
As Marianne Williamson (and/or Nelson Mandela) said, "... As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same..." WORD.