Faith in humanity
It’s unfortunately easy to lose faith in humanity.
Everything’s going alright for a while until, suddenly, one event begins a downward spiral that usually ends with me hating everyone and everything. That was the situation in which I found myself last week.
After a series of generally negative events near my house, I had lost hope in where I was living, in my neighbors and in any belief that this year could get better.
I imagined a year wrought with turmoil and depression, never to emerge from this initial low
point. It was a slippery slope, and I was at the bottom of it, reveling in self-pity.
I headed out into town after one particularly bad night, expecting to encounter more difficulties and naysayers. I imagined that everyone I passed was out to get me, but I was barely two minutes away from my house when the universe began to reorient itself.
After grumbling about my inability to find a free parking spot — this, pathetically, was the last straw — I admitted defeat and went to a parking garage, only to be handed a free parking pass by a kind woman who had an extra. She then went on to compliment my car and wish me a good day.
With this little sliver of sunlight having entered my world, I continued on, feeling a bit better. I began to consider the possibility that it was not the whole world out to get me — perhaps just everyone in my neighborhood.
I went to City Hall next, where I was helped by the sweetest woman who was terribly patient with my easily confused self.
I then went back to my house, feeling generally better about the rest of the world.
Unfortunately, my familiar grumpiness toward my street returned as soon as I got back. I sat on the porch a bit, contemplating the unprompted niceness of the women I had encountered that day and wondering why it didn’t seem to transfer back to this area.
Not a moment later, a man walked by, saw me sitting there, waved at me and wished me a good day. After this, a girl in the house next to me looked out her window as she was hanging up some lights, waved and gave me a sweet smile.
Each of these was a little gesture — a simple, quick act of kindness. Each was something I would have easily overlooked, had I not momentarily lost my faith in people. But it should be noticed every time it happens.
None of those people had to be kind to me, but they all were. They didn’t do it for positive feedback or to be recognized. They did it simply to spread a little more happiness into the world.
And that, more than anything, restored my faith in humanity.
Emily’s column runs biweekly Wednesdays. She can be reached at email@example.com.