By Carmelene Melanie Siani
When I go into the fast food market to buy my (daily) bag of M&M’s with peanuts, I always buy an extra bag for the guy behind the counter.
He says, “Thank you” and I say, “No. Thank you for letting me give you something.” With all that’s going on in this world we need to be able to give something to each other once in a while. I think, “Who knows what’s going on in the life of a person who works for minimum wage in a store where people buy their groceries at 2.5 times the price they should be paying because they don’t have transportation (or the ken) to go somewhere else.
Who knows how many of these minimum wage jobs the guy has to have to pay his own rent. Two? Three? What’s a stupid bag of M&Ms with peanuts to me? Nothing. But, being able to give a bag away to somebody for no reason at all? Well, to be honest, it’s the least I can do.
The very least.
There are so many people suffering mentally, emotionally and spiritually in our society—people who not only do not have access to help but who wouldn’t know how to go about getting it in the first place, let alone recognize that they need it.
Think about it. Think of the tens of thousands of people who have lost loved ones in all of the wars we’ve waged over the past decades; of the tens of thousands of people who have lost loved ones as a result of terrorism/shootings at home. Think of the people who have lost loved ones to cancer, to automobile accidents, to fire, to domestic violence. Think of the people who live without a stable home or a home at all, who don’t have regular employment, who grew up with less than an adequate education or less than an adequate family to care for them, or to socialize them or to even help them through their troubles.
Think about the waves of this collective grief—of how they can ravage stability and leave huge sink holes in our lives.
So many of us are walking around those sink holes, trying to either avoid them, to keep from falling into them or maybe worse, trying to pretend they don’t exist. It’s as if the whole country needs help…help…help. So much help.
When I read the comments from the general public on various FB pages I am appalled and horrified at the language and the hatred and the blindness on both sides (yes, on both sides). There is so much pain and suffering and confusion in the air that I almost want to say, “Bring on the puppy pictures.”
Would that be burying my head in the sand?
Maybe not. Maybe it’s withdrawing from the fray for the purpose of gaining strength to remind myself over and over, “Do not react. Respond.” And, in the words of the Buddhist teacher I am reading, to remember that always and everywhere, “Kindness can change the world.”
Even if it’s wrapped in a bag of peanut M&M’s.
Carmelene Melanie Siani is a 74 year old woman who began writing for publication on her 73rd birthday in 2015. She writes stories and vignettes about life and how life itself gives us the lessons, hopes and direction we need to put our feet on higher ground. You can find her writing at elephant journal, the Kindness Blog, and on her writer’s Facebook page.
Editor: Ty H. Phillips