Offering Grace

Last time I wrote I mentioned offering grace to make 2021 a better year. It got me thinking about a conversation I had recently. Not long ago I met a woman from Minnesota who was telling me about the snowstorms up there and how they brought out the best in people. Everyone would help out by shoveling walks for neighbors, pushing cars out of snowbanks and generally just more connected to mankind.

Like other natural events – hurricanes, earthquakes – events outside of our control – people are at their best when they are at the worst.

“We’re all in this together.” was how my this person explained the phenomenon of people bending over backward to help during times of stress. When large snowstorms hit local social media changes for the better.

Neighborhood pages on Facebook and Next Door – online areas that can be filled with bickering and name calling – become places where people reached out to one another to offer assistance. Providing a meal to a senior who can’t get out; fixing the furnace when it breaks down; jumping a dead car battery, and checking in with neighbors to make sure everyone is okay. Snow storms and other disasters might be horrible to endure, but the goodwill most people exhibit is heartwarming

When these kinds of trying times happen we offer grace and understanding so easily. Late for work? No worries, the roads are difficult. Stuck in traffic? It’s okay, we’re all stuck. We treat people better when bad things happen. Why is that? Why don’t we treat everyone with grace and understanding when the world isn’t falling apart?

Why don’t we do this on a daily basis and when there is no disaster?

Imagine if we could all let the little things roll off our backs? Imagine if we showed compassion and understanding at all times, not just during disastrous times? Helping one another because we can and not worrying about getting credit or getting anything in return, what a wonderful way to live.

I know that life gets in the way sometimes. Just driving can kick off so many negative emotions and then we react – and not often in the affirmative. Instead of reacting, we should practice responding. We should respond as we would if there was a disaster taking place – with kindness, compassion and understanding that things are not at their optimal and we should be accommodating.

We’ve had a lot of practice this last year, we have been more compassionate and understanding, even if others did not. We’ve had to be more gracious in 2020. And maybe it’s even easier since we’ve all been through the ringer together. Maybe, I’m hopeful, having all experienced the wretched year that was 2020 we can all be a little less rigid and much more forgiving of each other?

At any given time, someone is living a disaster. It might not be on the scale of Covid19, but everyone is fighting something at any given time so we should just treat everyone with kindness, compassion and understanding, even if we have no knowledge of the struggle they are going through.

Disaster, while horrible, brings us together. We’re all in this together, let’s treat each other with kindness, compassion and understanding in the best of times.

Here’s to the best of times in 2021.

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