Saturday, May 21, 2011


     Is there such a thing as a "mean" person? There are certainly individuals who seem to have no filter when it comes to expressing their negative opinions about things. And some seem to have an easier time being cruel and inconsiderate than others. There are abusers and manipulators and anger addicts. There are control freaks and fear mongers. And perhaps, if we're honest, a little bit of each of those resides in each of us in varying degrees depending on our mood and the fullness of our plates. The one thing without a doubt is that much harm occurs human to human every day.
     One of my lifelong questions has always been about redemption. Is it possible for everyone? Is it possible for even the darkest, angriest, most bitter and troubled soul? Is it possible for people to change their fundamental approach to life and the way they see themselves in the world? And if it is possible, what motivates the change? Does a person have to hit some kind of bottom? Or be treated with kindness and love in a way he never has been? Or feel love and kindness inside of himself in a way he has never felt it, or have compassion for a hurting being, or experience a white heat of burning desire to be free of his own darkness and internal hell?
     I believe it is possible, which doesn't mean it happens often, only that it can happen. And I feel quite sure that when it does happen, the change is never motivated by an external force exerting pressure, but by an internal, instinctual impetus to grow toward the light, and a spirit compass that turns unexpectedly towards hope. Redemption is a blessing and a gift, but I don't believe it comes without the wanting of it, and the asking for it.
     My part in the redemption of others and my own is to simply make a sincere and conscious effort to do no harm. I can contribute to anger and bitterness and cruelty by matching it with my own, or I can send back kindness and understanding. I can be forgiving. I can spread my joy. And that's what I choose today. In a world full of misbehavior and inauthenticity and violence and hatred I can open doors for people. I can smile. I can ask questions and listen to the answers. I can be non-judgmental and give others the benefit of the doubt. I need not be a doormat or shark bait, but I can easily, and without any extreme effort on my part, make a decision to do no harm.

Just for today, I will be kind and full of light. I will not contribute to the darkness of the world.