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As I write this, the sun is shining and the temperature is a balmy 4C. Wind is picking up. We all know weather can change quickly and we will be plunged into cold wind, freezing temperatures (winter coat, hat and scarf, fuzzy gloves and warm boots weather!). Grey, scudding clouds suddenly cover the sun. But, no matter, we are used to winters. Many of us will bundle up and go for walks. We will walk on the trails, parks and around our neighbourhoods.  During the Christmas season, some of us will take an evening stroll around our area admiring our neighbours’ decorated homes. 

Some will rush around last minute shopping for the perfect something. We need to pause in our hectic lives, dig our heads out of the sand and really look around! Some of us are at a fortunate place in our lives and can take that life for granted. We send cheques to various charities, donate food and clothing and purchase little things at shops to help worthy causes. Fine and good. BUT, let’s really open our eyes and look at the world around us . Let’s face it, we are blessed beyond words!

We cannot change the world! But, let’s just look at ourselves. Being simplistic, I believe a small step in the right direction would be to just be kinder to each other. Let’s stop, smile and say something kind to a mom whose kinds are whining for attention or simply pause and smile at the young child who smiles up at us hoping for recognition. We could commiserate with the stressed out cashier at the grocery store. Let’s wait and hold open a door for someone instead of rushing ahead. We could help a senior walk across a slippery crossroad or help them load groceries into their car (fully masked, of course). We could smile at a group of teens blocking entry into a store, saying with a smile and friendly voice, “excuse me, guys, just coming through”, instead of muttering as we negotiate our way around them!

All we need to do is look south to the United States to the devastation caused by a completely unexpected, unseasonable, weather monster of a tornado. Those who survived lost family, friends  and neighbours, their homes and source of work, their entire communities. People were left with absolutely nothing! Think about that! NOTHING! I can’t even imagine.

Look around at our lives. Can you imagine having your entire life and community  as you know it, gone? You say, ‘something of that magnitude can’t happen here’. Well, actually it can. Let’s not get too smug, now!  In Ontario we have had the rare tornado touch ground and we do have terrific ice storms, blizzards and floods. We marshal all resources to help each other in times of crisis. It’s just the Canadian way. 

So, let me end this post by saying let’s appreciate what we do have. Let’s look around and see how we can offer a small kindness to someone. Let’s put out our hand to a fellow human standing alone in the cold begging. Offer to take the person to a nearby cafe for a cup of hot soup or a coffee. You can always pick up a coffee and donut quietly offering it with a smile. Take the time to understand. There are those who say they are too busy and don’t have time ‘to bother’. We must remember our lives can change in seconds. Now, we cannot change the attitude of others, but we can certainly recharge our own! Kindness costs nothing! Smile. Be kind. Be non-judgmental! Put out your hand to others to show them we are all human and we acknowledge each other.  Stay safe. Keep healthy. 

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