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Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Legacy of Kindness

I've been in a blog series (pre-summer) on kindness. It just kind of happened that way, without any blog scripting or planning. Kindness has just been forever on my mind. What it looks like, what it feels like, how to choose it, how we must ally with one another, what it can do to us. The welcome of kindness. 

It has taken on a whole new form for me lately. I have seen and heard and felt how the ripple effect of kindness can wash over like the crash of a thousand waves. The kind of kindness that changes lives, that sets people free, the kind of kindness that tells people who they are and welcomes them in despite how they may feel or what they might think about themselves. 

Kindness communicates value and it communicates worth. 

I have known someone who embodied this, who lived it. Someone who inspired a domino effect of kindness, who made people ask the question of themselves, "wait. How am I treating others? Does my life reflect that I see other people as valuable and worthy?" Our sweet friend Tee, I believe he lived kindness to its core. He saw people not characterized by any category or box or label or limit, but as human beings worthy of respect. In its purest form, he just simply treated people right. 

At his memorial service a few weeks ago, I heard story after story of how his kindness changed people. One by one, people from all walks of life came to the front and shared how an encounter with Tee had made them feel safe. Had welcomed them in. Had turned their loneliness into belonging. I kept hearing their words and their stories and I kept thinking over and over again oh, what a life. what a legacy. 

Tee got it. He got that people matter, he got that people are welcome. His smile, his personality, his character, reflected the belief that every moment and every human being is sacred. There are no exceptions. Actions have influence, and oh did Tee influence towards love and belonging. 

I continue to be moved and inspired on a daily basis by Tee. What a privilege it is to have known him. His life and legacy have given a tremendous charge forward in the communal sadness that can never really be explained. His life helps paint a picture of what it means to live in the time we've been given. He brought heaven to earth.

So, be kind. Advocate for people. Bring them in to your home, your table, your conversation, your workout group, the break room, the seat on the bus. Love deeper and harder. Make kindness your first and only option. It means something far greater and more eternal than you could even imagine possible.

Good looking out, Tee. #muhammadbaby