On my birthday over a hundred people were massacred. “For Christ’s sake. Come on, world!” I thought. “Can’t we all just get our shit together?” Events like that might have caused me greater disillusionment in the past, perhaps days feeling the blahs, but I’d listened to an inspirational talk on YouTube years ago and I’d heard, “No amount of you feeling bad will help someone else,” and it made complete sense to me. Not that unpleasant feelings shouldn’t be felt or even embraced with both arms, but in this case it was clear I didn’t need to chase them. The perpetrators had already done enough damage, and me being unhappy would help no one. So I didn’t read the news, or watch any more about the France event.
What I did do, was enjoy the epic birthday surprise my husband had undoubtedly toiled on for weeks, a friend showing up at our door to drive me to our nearby library to find a card in the Sedaris section that led me to a friend at the flower shop, then breakfast nook. I squealed with excitement and embraced each friend as they handed me flowers, humbled and thankful they would do this for me, a mere human. This continued at the grocery store, Coffee Bean I like to write at, fast food joint, and we proceeded in a group, Wizard-of-Oz style, on foot, to Stan and my favorite (and wonderfully priced) sushi restaurant to encounter a whole bunch more people I love, friends who are on-purpose creative, funny, hard-working, and kind.
The next day we attended a friends’ beautiful wedding, then were off on our own wedding anniversary trip to San Francisco that involved a surprise Stan had planned for months, plus elephant seals, thousands of monarch butterflies, and gobbling goats. Not to mention picturesque beaches like the one you see here, both of us on paddleboards, staring into the waters to see stingrays swimming beneath us.
Yet the deaths were still somewhere within my awareness, and when I picked up my phone, a Facebook post caught my eye. “To honor the victims of the recent world tragedies, I encourage all of my friends to perform one act of kindness every day.” It was my friend Noelle, who’d been kind enough to take a ton of photos at the birthday treasure hunt.
“That’s it!” I thought. The perfect short answer to good. The long answer of course involves more, and for those who can do more (or would like to post peaceful solutions to discontinue tragedies such as the France one), by all means, comment here. Yes, comment away. Or go and do. Or both. Or at least do what makes you happy and harms no one.