This little tidbit, thinking it would make a good beginning to a larger piece showcasing people doing kind things, I wrote on the second of this month:
This morning I am at the grocery store with a $25 voucher from a local food bank, and a bill that came to about $28. Apparently, and because I have panic attacks when I think too much about bank stuff, my disability benefit that had been deposited on the 31st of last month was emptied on the 1st of this month. (Yesterday. Follow along, will you?). Rent, insurance, a couple other bills, and math frightens me as much as the bank, or toddlers, so I didn’t know. The debit card was declined and in my pocket was about $1.75 in silver.
A very gracious little old lady behind me dug into her purse and covered my shortfall as I was pondering what to pull out of the bag and return.
It was a wonderful thing, and I felt so glad, not only because I was able to go home with all my groceries, but because it very simply reinforced the sentiment behind a very simple three words I’d said so many times before. You’ve probably seen me say it, or if you haven’t then you need to read my blog more often.
People are good.
(Note: Links to follow me over there on the right -—>)
It’s something I’ve believed with as much certainty as I believe the Earth is round and that it circles a yellow dwarf star on the edge of a spiral galaxy on a collision course with Andromeda (double your insurance in about 4 billion years). Human beings are born with an innate sense of caring for one another, whether because of a very basic need for social interaction and reliance on the group as a whole, or just the plain innocence of childhood before it’s ripped asunder by life in general. Maybe it’s something that starts degrading the moment our fontanels begin closing, or perhaps it lingers in our minds even as we struggle with the crapload of crappity crap we go through in puberty. Nonetheless, it’s there at the beginning, and to some degree, it is always there like a layer of silt under the detritus that falls over it during our lives.
Yesterday I posted this small image to twitter:
Twitter being the fast moving thing it is, my tweet only received a couple of likes, but there was a response from someone who saw it as a retweet and said,
Then they questioned what standards I was using to judge. You can’t go into detail in 140 characters, so I tossed together a very basic description, something from holding doors to donating a truckload of food; Really just a quick one-off I thought might cover all the bases and satisfy the thread. Of course, it didn’t.
This person said that they had been sexually abused by someone who met all the simple criteria I had set, so how is it confirmation that people are good?
When I was a younger man, I recall wondering what was wrong with the world because almost every woman I ever became intimate with would tell me a story of how they’d been touched, or molested, or raped, by a stranger, family member, or friend. It dumbfounded me. Perhaps it’s the distance I’d put between myself and the rest of the world when I hid myself in my nest and became frightened of every noise outside, but I’d forgotten the dichotomous sense of disbelief (because people are good, right?) and outrage (making my gender seem horrible!) I’d feel each time I heard a story like that.
That we’re all good under everything, that we are caring and kind and willing to reach out when given the opportunity, that when the thick blanket of whatever negative experiences or worldview we’re taught to have is pulled away, we will reach out to each other, that I do still believe. After reading that last tweet I struggled to reconcile myself with it, though. It shook me much more than I expected it to.
But ultimately, with some thought and inner struggle, I think I can reconcile it.
In no way am I going to justify what that person experienced, because it is very clearly unjustifiable. There are rotten, mouldy, malfunctioning people in the world, a result of broken brains or learned abnormal behaviours, or a combination of the two, maybe, I’m not sure. But they’re broken and that’s the difference.
People are good.
Although I try to hold that close to my heart because it makes me feel better about the species (and as a result myself because I am the most important person in the species), I have still experienced far more good people than bad in my life, and I’m pretty sure you have too. It may take some introspection to see it, though, so try not to dismiss the idea quickly. Give it a dram of thought. Probably, all things considered, more have loved you in your life, more have smiled at you, given to you, than have not.
It’s easier to remember the asshats because they seem so loud, while the kindnesses are almost always quiet.
People are good.