For the greater part of my life I have lived in a small town. I branched out into the bustling metropolis for a few years to attend college but the pull of our tight-knit community was too strong to ignore and I came home. Much to the chagrin of my city dwelling friends, I have never regretted that decision.
There is something comforting about seeing the same people on a day-to-day basis. It may feel a little too close for comfort at times when they know more about your life than you do but it has become the safety blanket of my existence. The community that began as a collection of strangers rapidly transformed into an extended family and I take solace in the fact that I could knock on any door and receive the same warm welcome from any one of them.
The milk of human kindness flows more freely in a small town – at least that has been my experience. And in the summer of 2013 that lesson was inked into my skin in colors more vivid than any tattoo. My mother had a slight episode while on her scooter as she was making her way home from her shopping excursion. Her dog had broken free from her collar and, in the chaos that ensued, my mother had toppled from her scooter and lay on her back on the pavement. As fate would have it I was driving through town just as the mishap occurred and I was able to pull over and help.
In the time it took for me to pull over, a handful of people were already either assisting my mother or madly looking for the frenzied dog that was dodging parked cars and moving vehicles. It was controlled chaos but in the end my mom was fine and the dog was recovered without incident.
There is an overwhelmingly consolatory feeling knowing that if I had not been there my mother would have been just as vigilantly attended to and things would have still ended well. Knowing that the milk of human kindness flows freely through the veins of my community makes me glad that I made the decision to carve my life into the growing trunk of the tree in this rural atmosphere.
There may be moments of my life that I will look back on with regret but choosing to live my life in this town and the community of people I share it with is not one of them.
My only wish, especially now, is that the kindness we experience here could be broadcast on a much grander level. Whatever happens in this world, we must not let the anger and hatred of the few be able to quell the kindness that resides in the many. Fight hate with love and keep your hearts open. The more we hate, the more they win.