That Time of Year

“It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.”
– W.T. Ellis

Honestly, I’ve been struggling to figure out what to write about for the final post of this year. If you’ve been following along with ‘The Trepverter Effect’ since the beginning, you’d know that at this time last year, my posts were so organised. Alas, as Sabrina says in the last ‘Sisters Grimm’ book (‘The Council of Mirrors’ by Michael Buckley): “Funny how life got in the way of plans.”

But there is something that I’ve been thinking about throughout this year. Amidst all the world events rattling the globe. Amidst all the atrocities being committed and voices being silenced. Amidst all the terror being sown. Amidst all this, people have risen. Humanity has risen to the occasion. And not by answering violence with violence. But by answering with the rousing call of kindness.

I feel like we should clarify what exactly kindness is. I wrote a poem about it in October called ‘Kill ‘Em With Kindness‘, dedicated to one of my friends who had been going through a tough time. I consider it a call to arms; a battle cry for the ‘nice guys’. “Do not mistake my kindness for weakness” is the line I repeat. And in this day and age, I believe this is an incredibly important point. Acting out of kindness is not something a weak person does. Acting out of kindness when there are people trying to convince us that everyone else is our enemy is an act of pure courage.

Think about it. Terrorism is the act of instilling fear into a society. Individuals who commit acts of terror are trying to turn us against one another. These brutes are trying to make us suspicious of the people on the street, our neighbours, our classmates. These bullies feed on the fear we have of each other. Yet here we are, stubbornly being kind to one another in the face of fear. It’s amazing. I’m sure you’ve heard of some great stories in the past year. I hear stories on the news, on the internet – heck, even on Instagram – about people who are acting out of kindness. People who aren’t letting fear control their actions.

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

And there is something more important than fear. It’s spreading love and kindness.

Ok, so that was a really cheesy line, I admit, but it’s still true! It’s hard to be terrified of everyone if we’re all being kind to one another.

But again, what is kindness? I think something that people get a bit confused about is the distinction between ‘kindness’ and ‘being polite’. I like to think that being polite is a ‘given’; politeness is the ‘natural mode’ that we as humans are socially programmed to. On the other hand, kindness is something that you specifically give to others. Kindness is going out of your way to help someone. Being polite is moving out of someone’s way.

I read and watched the movie ‘Wonder’ this month, and it got me thinking about how kindness works. One of the most important lines of the book is a quote by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer:

“When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.”

When the quote says ‘being right’, I consider that to mean being right in the eyes of the status quo; in other words, being ‘in the right‘. Sometimes, people who are in the right, are indeed, in the right. Unfortunately, we don’t get to choose who ‘gets’ in the right and who doesn’t. Which means that sometimes, we have to deal with people who give themselves ‘the right’. The thing is, we don’t always have to.

There’s a quote from ‘Wonder’ that I think perfectly shows this: “It’s not enough to be friendly. You have to be a friend.” In other words, we need to push past the polite, the niceties, the amiability, and get to the true kindness; by being nice and being a friend. Sure, we could follow the status quo and just treat our fellow humans with politeness as we bustle about and move out of each other’s way. But where’s the fun in that? Where’s the joy? Where’s the love?

I’m one of those people who get scared of not being able to help heal the world. I hate hearing about the terrible things that happen, because it reminds me that I’m helpless. But if I stop and think about it, my mind comes back to being kind. Being a good person in your little corner of the world helps. Considering other people’s point of view helps. Listening to other people and trying to help them heal helps. It’s all the little things that add up to change the world.

I know I can’t change the world. Heck, you can’t change the world either. But TOGETHER, we can change the world. All we have to do is:

“Have courage and be kind.” – Ella’s mother, ‘Cinderella’ directed by Kenneth Branagh

Well, ladies and gentlemen, that’s me done for another year! Wishing you all a lovely holiday season and hope you all have a wonderful Christmas day, even if you don’t celebrate Christmas itself! Until next year, everyone!!! 🙂

{Song of the Post: ‘The Christmas Waltz‘ by Tony Bennett, which is fast becoming a favourite of mine. “It’s that time of year/When the world falls in love/Every song you hear/Seems to say/Merry Christmas, may your New Years dreams come true/And this song of mine… Wishes you and yours the same thing too…”}

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