As many of you know, I made my writing debut here talking about how Mean People Suck. This article, based on both the event itself and the aftermath of the now infamous Harvey Updyke/Toomer's Corner tragedy, was my commentary on the fact that there are just plain-out mean people out there, and best practices in dealing with them. I followed up a bit later with a post about how my faith in humanity had been restored due to the kindness of strangers during the holidays when my grandmother was sick, ending with a challenge to be kind in 2012. Well, folks, in just a little over a week, we here in the South face our fiercest catalyst in the battle of good and evil. I don't have any statistics, but I'm willing to bet that domestic arguments (in houses divided) triple during the last four months of the year. I've witnessed my fair share of them myself. I've bitterly uttered words out of hurt or just pure rage that would never come to my mind or lips at any other time. I'm not talking about the election, Chick-fil-A, the August heat, or the return of school, friends. It's college football season, y'all.
It's enough to just make me want to stick my head in the sand until January. With that being said, I'm going to start building an arsenal in my head of all the reasons I LOVE other humans! We'll call this the "Mean People Suck" series... but more as a reminder that the suckier people are, the more we appreciate the kindness in others.
Here are some examples of People Who Do Not Suck:
- First, let's whet the palate this post on Buzzfeed, called "21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity." I've kept this saved in my bookmarks and go back to it regularly when I'm having a "I Want to Kick the Shins of Everyone I Know" kind of day.
- Ok, now think about the Olympics. Picture Michael Phelps on the stand, holding back the tears as he accepted his last gold medal. Picture the sweet smile of Gabby Douglas and that awesome "You Can Do It!" from Bela Karoli. Got that warm and fuzzy feeling? Now watch this (another from Buzzfeed). Boom! Instant rush of patriotism and love for your fellow man. I recommend revisiting this when the presidential election gets particularly ugly.
- Speaking of the Olympics, if you want a good laugh at my expense, read here how I got so inspired by the Olympics and decided to break out my
nonexistentcheerleading skills and try out some backyard gymnastics, only to end up with a fracture in my knee, a fancy brace, and 8 weeks of physical therapy. What I only touched on in that article, however, was just how stinkin' nice everyone is being to me. I'm kinda known for milking these sorts of things, or possibly exaggerating pains and such just to be babied a bit (my poor roommates, sister, and best friends will attest to this), but this time it's real! I'm not supposed to walk about! And it's different with coworkers - not even I am comfortable asking my office-neighbor to fill up my water glass every time he goes to the kitchen. But without even asking, the wonderful people around me have taken it upon themselves to help me out with everything except escorting me to the bathroom. I've had more people check in on me, offer to help, and just baby me than I've ever experienced outside of my group of friends and family. These, I'm guessing, are the perks for working for a church. Regardless - I'm forever grateful and will not be forgetting these kindnesses anytime soon.
- Westboro Baptist Church. Yall heard of them? These are the vile people who have the website www.godhatesfags.com and have made a name for themselves by picketing soldier's funerals. (They are absolutely not connected to the Southern Baptist Church in any way.) You can read up on them here, if you aren't familiar. You're probably surprised I began this entry with mention of them, because the group certainly does not elicit nice thoughts in any decent human being's head. (They absolutely, in no way, represent the teachings of Christ as they spew hatred in His name... ) Anyway - see how quickly I digress? So on their site, they have a list of people/churches they are picketing, and word got around that they had set their sites on my church back in June. They cited our "Everyone is Welcome; No one is perfect; Anything can happen." motto as their reasoning (seems that opens us up to allowing sinners in our church!). My pastor released this official response from the church, in which he basically says "be graceful to the gracekillers" and do not do anything but pray for them, because they are so obviously lost.So on that Sunday morning, I arrived at church, ready to stand my ground, not react, and honestly just a tad bit excited because let's face it, nothing gets our adrenalin going like the chance to spot yourself in the background on the nightly news. Before the service let out, one of our campus pastors let us know that the protesters had been there, but they were already gone. It was quite anti-climactic... until I found out why. People had organized a counter-protest, still keeping Pastor Pete's thoughts in mind, not to combat them, but simply to form a wall (literally, with plastic sheets) between the protesters and the church-goers. These were not members of the church. Some weren't even Christians. They just simply felt out of the goodness of their hearts that it was important to let people worship in peace and not be accosted on their Sunday morning. Unfortunately, the news article about this from our local news station has been taken down, but I remember very well how much my heart swelled when I heard the woman interviewed say (something along the line of) "There's just no reason for these good people to be hurt when all they want to do is worship." That, my friends, is the true human heart.
So that's what I've got for now. Anything to add? Anything help you sort out the goodies and the baddies lately?