Well, this happened: Trump declared himself to be God—the Chosen One—“the King of Israel,” and one of his first sovereign acts was an attempt to buy Greenland. Well shit, I didn’t know one could simply declare oneself “the Chosen One” and subsequently try and annex a country for grins and giggles. If I had known that I would have tried it a long time ago: “I, Eleanor Tomczyk, hereby declare myself the Chosen One—the Queen of all people groups—and I want to purchase Bora Bora. Why, you ask? Because I would like to turn it into my own private vacation spot, thank you very much. Oh, and I would also like to annex a couple of Trump’s planes because now that I’m Queen, I don’t fly commercial!”)
In the meantime, the Messiah impersonator has done nothing with his new found “power” to squelch the hatred on the meteoric rise in our country. In fact, he seems to have encouraged it. Americans are getting meaner and more racist by the day, and I think it’s mainly due to Trump giving them permission to hate. Last week Mad-King Trump was hating on the Jews, the week before it was the Blacks, and weeks before that it was the Mexicans.
Maybe I’m naïve, but I am convinced that most Americans are not like this. I just think many Americans are either clueless or don’t know how to combat this tidal wave of hatred and evil because so much of our theology is based on bumper stickers. I don’t remember who said this (it is not original to me), but I think it was the theologian Richard Rohr who said the bumper sticker “Commit random acts of kindness” is a bunch of crap (my word). He says kindness by its very nature is a deliberate act—a purposeful choice. That is what pushes back against the madness and hatred around us.
As I was meditating on this thought recently, I read an article in the Washington Post entitled: ‘I have $1500 that I’m giving away’: Man becomes legend for extreme acts of kindness toward strangers,* by Allison Klein who is the anchor of the Inspired Life blog. The story was about a man named Jon Potter who four years ago started helping strangers for free and it snowballed. He did everything from helping a stranded teenager get home to recently giving a stranger one of his kidneys. He said the more kindness he deliberately and extremely dispensed, the better his own mental health became (he suffers from depression).
EUREKA! This is the answer I thought after reading the article. If all good-hearted Americans went forth into the land seeking to do deliberate acts of kindness, we could defeat Trump and his minions by a landslide next fall because we would have defeated or shamed the spirit of hatred in our midst.
That’s what I decided to start doing. I promised myself that I’d be on the lookout for deliberate acts of kindness that I could perform—just like Jon Potter. How hard could that be? Right? Well, first of all, one needs to pay attention to details when one engages in this strategy or one will end up in a Costco fiasco as I did the other day. Herein lies that tale…
Recently, I set off to Costco with my husband “WW” (White and Wonderful) in the land of Trump. As is usual, WW took off for the wine section while I lingered in the flower and book section. What happened next could be chalked up to over-eagerness on my part, or old age, or the racist concept that all old White people look alike. But when a White couple in their late eighties turned the corner and almost ran me down with their cart, rather than give them a dirty look, I decided to employ my deliberate act of kindness motto on them.
As I took another look at the couple, I suddenly realized they were my neighbors (we’ll call them Gladys and Bob) whom I hadn’t seen in a while. (This will be easy, I thought. They are my neighbors and I like them. Good neutral ground upon which to practice my new way of life.) The old man had on the same type of glasses as my neighbor, was slightly bald, and had slightly mangled legs like my neighbor. He leaned on the cart to steady his balance while his wife (chubby, talkative, and slightly bossy tried to steer her husband around the corner to the pasta section). In my defense, I hadn’t seen my neighbors in months since an ambulance had taken the Mister away due to a fall in his garden. Although I had heard he was doing okay, I felt bad that I hadn’t followed up with him as a good neighbor should. Now was the chance to right the wrong I had committed and make America a better place with my kind and gracious response to a couple who had almost run me over with a grocery cart due to their inattentiveness.
“Gladys, Bob! What a pleasant surprise,” I said, as I grabbed Gladys and forcefully enveloped her into my ample DDD bosom. “Girl, I haven’t seen you in ages—how have you been?” I asked, as Bob glared at me with that look of, “I’m a Trumper, and I don’t do Black people encounters—let alone, unsolicited hugs—get your ghetto hands off my wife before I call the police.”
For an instant, I did wonder why the couple seemed very standoffish (very unlike my neighbors who are usually delightful). Did that stop me in my newfound exuberant deliberate act of kindness? Hell no!!! I planted Gladys face more aggressively into my bosom while I called over my husband to say hello to our neighbors: “Honey, look who’s here—it’s Gladys and Bob!” The look on WW’s face was my first clue that I might be out-to-lunch, but it was Gladys’ slightly frightened statement mumbled into my chest that made me turn a lighter shade of brown: “Lady, I think someone’s got their wires crossed. We don’t live in your neighborhood. We’d know it if we did.” [Translation: there are no Black people in our neighborhood—that’s one of the reasons we moved there.]
I live in a concealed carry weapon state, and for a brief moment, I saw my life pass before my eyes as I wondered if the bulge in the old man’s fanny pack was a Glock 26. (It seems that this deliberate act of kindness lifestyle can have its hiccups if you’re not paying attention.) However, in the midst of my groveling, my profuse apologies, and my silent pleading that the old White couple not call the police (I was convinced I’d be arrested for “acts of kindness while being Black in Costco”), that little White old lady said something so profound that it broke my heart: “No, need to apologize, Honey. You just made my day! We moved to this town months ago and not one of our real neighbors have waved to us, said hello, or dropped by with a pie—absolutely nothing! Thank you for your act of kindness, even if it was meant for someone else—it’s the best thing that has happened to me in months.”
As the couple rounded the corner into the pasta aisle, WW said to me with great chagrin: “You know that couple didn’t look a thing like our neighbors Gladys and Bob. What have you been smoking?” “WHATEVER!” I replied. “My heart was in the right place. Albeit, it was a very tiny act of kindness that made a small corner of Trump world a much better place—at least I started my quest to turn back the tide of anger and hatred with grace and bosomy exuberance. It took courage to do that small act. Eventually, I’ll get to the kidney donation—just give me time.”
WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR’S LIFE AMONG WHITE CHRISTIAN CONSERVATIVES FOR 45+ YEARS AND THE INSIGHTS GAINED: Check out “Fleeing Oz”—on sale now at Amazon!
WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR? Check out her website at http://www.eleanortomczyk.com
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