With warmer weather teasing to stay around a while, hibernating neighbors peek out from cracked doors and step into the sunshine. Besides reacquainting ourselves with long lost neighbors, spring means nights jam-packed with sports. Tonight was a go-go-go of soccer and baseball practice and lots of shuttling between both to get boys to where they needed to be.
Picking up A. from the YMCA, we motor back to the baseball field to catch the last of I.’s baseball practice. To get to the diamond, we follow the fence line of the tennis courts. As we walk, a bright yellow ball flies over the high chain link fence and lands near our feet. Oh, I think, that’s what happens when I play tennis, too. Instinctively, I bend over, pick it up and toss it back.
Which makes me think: aren’t so many random acts of kindness simply instinctive reactions? You open a door. You pick up something that someone’s dropped and race to give it back to him. You smile at a stranger.
All these small cumulative gestures by strangers build us up. Then why does it only take one random act of meanness to knock us down?
Driving down I-71 with the boys, a woman, clearly agitated, swears and gestures at me. This isn’t today but last week and I’m still thinking of her red, angry face.
I have no idea what could have upset her. I wasn’t straddling the yellow line or poking along 10 miles under the speed limit. All the random acts of kindness shown to me by strangers that day are null and void. This lady’s rampage has emptied the bank.
Which brings me to this, as powerful as a kind gesture is in building someone up, hate tears people down. More importantly, the hateful exchanges push out all the lovely ones in your recent memory.
So, people, what do you think? Let’s all tennis, shall we? LOVE!