Well, I kind of disappeared for a bit while I tried to find some creative motivation. xD You know how it goes, especially if you work in a creative profession like I do…creating “brilliant works of art” on the fly, while simultaneously pretending to be a mindreader so you can get your finished product to be exactly what someone ELSE wants, can be very taxing on the creative juices.
Anywho, today I wanted to write about random acts of kindness. Two posts ago, I wrote about how I’ve lost a lot of faith in humanity…but every now and then, a few people restore my belief that people can in fact be kind, moral creatures. The phrase “random acts of kindness” is very significant for me, however, in more than just the simple way which I’ve just described.
Yesterday marks the seventh anniversary of the shooting at my high school, Platte Canyon High School, where seven girls were taken hostage in their English classroom by a random gunman, and one of those girls, Emily Keyes, was killed. Her parents, Ellen and John-Michael, are wonderfully strong and inspiring people: instead of allowing the horrible event surrounding the death of their child to cause them to live in fear or despair, they retaliated with kindness and love. Not long after, they created the “I Love U Guys Foundation”. The name was inspired by a text that they received from their daughter earlier that day, and was the last thing she had said to them. Their goal was to combat the random acts of violence that occur every single day by creating random acts of kindness.
The day and its subsequent message were very profound for me, in more ways than I will say here…but it changed my life. I had just turned 17 when it happened and was a senior in high school. I was like most teenagers: entitled, annoying, and whiny. My life had the WORST problems, and no one else understood. You know. September 27, 2006 was the first day since my grandpa had died when I was 11 that I saw my mom cry, and the first time EVER that I had seen my dad afraid. Ever. My boyfriend at the time was bawling with relief that I was okay, my friends were so thankful and supportive…and I realized that I had a lot of people who really cared about me. And I was thankful. I was guilty. I felt horrible that I had not shown these people in my life that I cared about them as well. I mean, it’s REALLY tough for me to say “I love you,” especially to my parents…I’m not sure why. I’ve just never been that kind of person. But what if it were me that day? I wanted to make sure that my support group knew I loved them too.
That day, my perspective changed from “Ugh, I hate my life” to “It could always be worse, and I should be happy that I have so much, a lot more than many other people have.” I wanted to commit random acts of kindness too, and even just thinking about it made me a better person!
The event was traumatizing, scary, sad, and never should have happened. But it did, and I was blessed to have people around me that could take this tragedy and turn it into something beautiful that united the entire community. I’m thankful that Emily’s spirit can live on through the strength of those that knew her, and in turn, through the rest of us as the strength and love spreads.
So next time you want to make a snide comment about someone’s weight, what they’re wearing, their attitude, or their lifestyle…remember instead to create kindness, not violence or isolation. Even if it’s just for one day, give it a try! You might make a person’s day, or save a life. Your words could be the thing to pull someone off the path to suicide, or you could inspire someone to take that leap in their life that they weren’t sure about. Bring back some of my faith in humanity!
I Love U Guys Foundation: www.iloveuguys.org