Sunday, November 20, 2016

Label Makers

Recently I witnessed a car pull
over in the rain and its driver
hand a small umbrella through
the window to a man waiting for
the bus. Following an acrimonious
election season, that simple act
of empathy reminded me that
we are all traveling through
this life together.

I've missed that sense of unity.

Fueled by both regular and
social media, we've become a
world that places labels on
one another, which only serves
to divide us.

Whether these labels are economic,
political, religious, geographic or
something else, they say,
I am this, and you
are that.

Instead of a humanity stitched
together by our similarities, we are
like a ripped canvas, shredded
into a million tiny and disjointed


Generally, we don't label those
who we love and value the most.

Dad is just Dad.  I don't think of
him as that Libertarian, or that son
of immigrants or that caucasian.

He's Dad.

My friend Fiona is just Fiona.  
don't see her as that working 
mom, that woman from Illinois
or that Catholic.

She's Fiona.

So why are we so quick
to label others?

Walking through the last days of
autumn, I mulled this question,
then came up with my own:

If I could only use one label as
a guide to who I want in my life,
 what would that label be?


For me, kindness is more important
than where you are from, what 
your job is, your skin color, politics,
gender, creed, intelligence or any
other characteristic that can 
be labeled.

If you are kind, I'll be drawn to you.
But if you are unkind, that's
the label I'll stick on you.

My friends, we are all fellow occupants
(not owners) of a tiny spot on a small
planet in an infinite universe for a
very short while. 

What if our common experience was
guided by the desire to earn the
label kind, instead of focusing on
how we might be different from
one another? 

Kindness in thought.
Kindness in speech.
Kindness in action.

What one label would you
use to determine who you
want in your life?

Labels are distancing phenomena.
They push us 
from each other.

~ Leo Buscaglia


{all pictures taken by me}