• Comment

The world around us

Posted: January 28, 2015 - 1:25am

I was heading into the grocery store last week and moving quickly to get out of the rain and cold. There was a movie kiosk by the entrance and I stopped for a minute to see if there was anything worth grabbing for my family to watch that weekend.

As I looked through the options, I noticed two women unloading their cart into a car parked right up front. A store bag boy was helping, and so was a little boy around 5 or 6. And before any of the grownups could grab the last item in the cart – a pack of canned drinks – the boy tried to help and dropped it on the ground.

One of the women, I assumed she was the boy’s mother, yelled at the boy and then, before I could believe what was happening, smacked him in the back so hard he fell to the ground.

“Get in the car,” she screamed, adding a curse word for good measure.

I thought about saying something to the woman, and sadly decided my intervening would only cause more trouble for the boy.

They drove off and I headed into the store, fighting back tears. What an injustice for that child, what a heart-breaking moment. I tried not to think about his life when no one was looking, if that could happen to him in public, in front of shoppers and employees. Maybe this was just a momentary lapse in judgment, I wanted to think, maybe it’s not always like this.

As I ambled through the store getting treats for my children – my treasures – I kept thinking about that child and how he had been treated. I was so sad. I wanted to fix his life, to fix all the problems of the world. There is so much sadness, I thought, and no way to change it.

We can’t fix all the problems. Some days I can barely fix my own. And I don’t mean that as a cop-out, I’m not suggesting we ignore other people’s sufferings. But our first step in wanting to make the world a better place is to recognize things will never be perfect, to be at peace somehow even as we try to help.

But my resolve, in the face of such sadness and misery, is to do my best to bring joy where I can. I thought to myself that my primary job is to care for the souls entrusted to me, to be the best wife and mother I can. To recognize the gift of children and family life and to love extravagantly. I want to be patient and kind and loving, to be generous and focus on more than just my own aches and pains.

And then, outside of my own little world, to treat others the way I want to be treated. Seeing that little boy, a peek into his world, is a reminder that there is suffering all around. What I saw may be an extreme, but the truth is we are all waging wars that no one can see.

There is hardship.

And what I can do as I go about my day is try to be a light, as best as I can. Life is hard, and for some people it’s really hard. And in those hard times, when we are met with kindness as we go about our day, that lessens the load.

(And if I see that woman again, I’m going to call her out.)

  • Comment