The world is smaller now than it once was, and I revel in the things that make it at once bigger and smaller. The discovery of new species makes the world seem bigger. There are things out there that we don’t know, things I hope we’ll never find. Parts of this earth need to stay wild. At the same time, the formation of new friendships makes the world smaller. One more face that feels like home. One less stranger on this earth.
Strangers. As children, we’re told to never speak to them. As adults, speaking to those we don’t know almost becomes a necessity. I was shy as a child. Still today, I frequently have to push myself out of my own shell. Because today, strangers present themselves in the form of interviews, dates, friends of friends. Sometimes even former friends, those whom at one point, I couldn’t imagine life without. Now, I remember them illuminated by headlight circles and bonfires, yelling Bohemian Rhapsody into the Colorado night. And I hope that they are well, wherever they are.
That is my version of ones that I once knew. We all carry versions of each person we encounter every day. There’s a driver who kindly let you into their lane, and another driver filled with holiday road rage. Two fleeting instants. Two people remembered in two different ways. Such moments could be a mirror of a person’s everyday self, or they could be completely incongruent with one’s character. Nine times out of ten, we won’t know. We’ll never find out. Yet, every person lives a life just as complicated as our own. There are no formulas. Each life is filled with its own beauty, its own trials, its own joys, and its own sorrows. So much so that even on your darkest days, there is never an excuse to practice anything but kindness.
Kindness has a way of making things better, on both sides. The giver of kindness will feel good about their actions. The receiver will appreciate these actions, and often feel a need to pay it forward. So today, and every day, embody kindness. Maybe you’ll reach an understanding with someone facing difficult times. Maybe you’ll turn a stranger into a new friend. Maybe the smallest thing that could happen is helping to make someone’s day just a little brighter. And as the holidays approach, why not try to be merry and bright?
Strangers – The Trishas
White Christmas – Bing Crosby (I always gotta love the Bing version. Classic.)