Smile In The Face of Something Mean

I can't get her out of my head.

She was skinny and tall. She was bouncing around the street. 

Jittery.

She was wearing a baseball cap and long sleeves and jeans that were cuffed.

She crossed the street, paused in front of my car, and gave me the middle finger.

I do not know this woman. I did not know her name. I did not know what prompted her to do a carelessly negative thing.

I wanted to scream out the window a string of expletives. I wanted to flash my own middle finger.

But…I didn't.

The world is so crazy nowadays.

It is crazy and sad and beautiful and happy and horrible and strange.

See, I was coming from a weekend at the beach with loved ones. I was sunkissed and relaxed and happy. I was on my way to a rehearsal. 

She was jittery, but I was bouncing with joy.

Joy.

In that moment, I chose joy. I chose to not engage with the negativity. I chose not to fan the flames of someone else's despair.

I chose to smile in the face of something mean.

And look, I'm not saying that's easy.

I'm not saying I always do that - I don't.

But I'm wondering what would happen in this world if we all chose to do that a little bit more.

The world is so crazy nowadays.

Facebook feeds and tweets have become saturated with negativity, sarcasm, and snark. It can feel like a battleground out there. It can feel like everyone around you is looking to draw lines in the sand.

And I think so much magnificence can happen if we cross those lines. If we step over onto the other side of something that is different than you, and smile. Or say hi. Or ask, how are you - and then stick around long enough to hear the answer.

I did not know this woman. I did not know her name. I did not know what prompted her to do a carelessly negative thing.

And I'll never know.

But I feel bad for her. Someone who lashes out like that is clearly carrying around sadness an pain and anger - and that can never be good. When left unchecked, these wiegh on our souls like an anchor, dragging us down into a dark pit of despair. 

And that, my friends, is sad.

I did not know this woman. 

But what I do know is matching her anger with more anger was not going to accomplish anything.

I mean, let's be honest, when does it ever? What good ever came out of hate?

It is easier said than done, but perhaps it's best to smile and move on in the face of something mean.