I lost a little faith in humanity over the last five months. It started with a “friend” who turned into psycho-Satan incarnate. The abrupt end of that relationship made me think, Okay, seriously…. there’s no possible way to trust anyone again.
However, knowing that’s not really true, I picked myself up by the bootstraps and moved on. In hindsight? Good riddance. If someone wants to be Satan, then they can move along. (And yes, have my permission to put that right on a t-shirt. If you do so, please send me one.)
BUT, other stupid things happened. I felt like it was one thing after the next, and let’s not even talk about the news on the television.
Okay, now I am seriously done with people. ALL of them, I thought.
But the truth was: I didn’t like who I was becoming.
Because it’s never been in in my nature to be “done” with “people.”
I come from a generous family. My parents always had someone living with us—not permanently—but someone was perpetually in our spare room. There was a minister or college kid or exchange student or newly homeless friend… someone always lived in the spare room. I didn’t think a thing of it.
Apparently, I picked up on this trend in high school when the German exchange student was having a hard time with his placement.
I said, all matter of fact at lunch, “You can come live with us.”
That evening the phone rang. I could hear the voice on the other end of the line, from across the room:
“Good evening! This is Kristoffer and Meredith said I could live with you? When may I come?”
My dad made his trademark throat-clear, and looked over his glasses at me.
(Needless to say, Kristoffer was living with us by the weekend.)
Anyway, fast forward to these last few weeks.
I signed up for Marine Corps Marathon as a pusher for a sweet boy named Logan. I have been fundraising. I have raised and donated, and also been in a massive give-mode these past few weeks. I felt better – I was getting out of the funk. I realized that my lost faith in humanity was literally because of a few rotten apples, then of course the recent news… but that I had to get back to believing in the good, recognizing that I had a reason to keep doing what I was doing… being me.
This morning, I posted a “Happy Hump Day” Starbucks gift card.
I went for a long run this morning, and it was sort of yucky. I wanted to do something to flip my mood—and I find that doing something nice for other people is often the perfect antidote to bitterness.
So I went to Starbucks and got the card. Loaded some money on it, posted on social media and told people to enjoy a coffee on me.
I had done this a few times before, and each time—someone abuses it—spends a ton of money on it and I vow never to do it again. Disappointing? Yes. But then I just think, “Breathe. There are 15 other people who were able to enjoy a nice coffee on me. It’s one bad bean in the bunch.”
Back when I worked at my first law firm job, I was going to court with the partner who was headed into retirement. We were getting out of the car, and he just left his keys in the ignition.
“Hey,” I said, “You left your keys in the—”
He said, “Oh I know. Someone might need a car more than me.”
I stared at him like he was crazy. Of course, this was Small Town USA, and he was jesting a bit. But I loved that spirit about him. Always made me laugh, even though I felt the overwhelming urge to take the keys inside with me…. or move his car to “teach him a lesson.”
Generosity. In a way. Maybe more of just a free spirit. I loved it about him. I learned to relax (a little), and just be free.
I loved that my parents were always, “You can live with us.”
And of course, my grandmother–don’t even get me started about that dear woman’s generosity.
It’s wonderful to be (and to have been) surrounded by generous people.
Today’s Starbucks gift card yielded an interesting transaction, though.
And then it yielded another one.
A few folks in Boston, Washington, and other places across the country purchased their coffees. Then a few others.
Then, in less than a blink, the gift card was completely out of money. I looked up the history.
Someone in England spent $67.
Then someone in Michigan took it upon themselves
to purchase their own gift card in the amount of $25.
Something that should have yielded 30+ little gifts for folks was ruined by two assholes.
And just like that, I felt myself get unreasonably mad. What the effing shit… I wanted to crawl back into my hole. I wanted to crawl in my hole and hate people.
But I walked outside, took a little breather… and I made a choice. I read through the comments on Insta and FB… all the “thank yous” and cheery emojis. There was SO much more good there.
I flipped my perception. I chose to look at this whole experience as something else entirely.
Was it likely that someone was a dick in England and Michigan and totally pulled one over on me? Yep. But that’s on them.
So check. Karma has them covered.
But what could I do to snap ME out of it? I was bummed.
So instead, I just made a choice.
- I choose to picture a Swim Bike Mom in England who was out of money. Who went to Starbucks with her two young kids, and purchased four protein boxes, six sandwiches, juice boxes, milk, dark chocolate for treats, and a big, deserving Venti Flat White for herself.
- I pictured a friend in Michigan who took the card and purchased a $25 gift card and went right outside and handed it to someone who desperately needs it. Because she knew I would love that.
I want to be generous. It’s in my spirit and heritage apparently. I won’t stop, and I won’t let anyone take that away.
Regardless of what is true about today’s Starbucks humanity experiment—it’s hard to ever know. It’s hard to know what anyone else is going through. It’s hard to know what intense suffering is happening on the other side of everything.
But what we feel and choose to feel is changes everything for us.
So I’m going to just go with my versions of England and Michigan.
Oh, and as I finished writing this, @Commit_to_Kindness tagged me on Instagram.
That’s some Emotional Oatmeal, right there. The good is right there all along.. we just have to open our eyes, feel it and breath it in.
Happy Hump Day friends,
And if you are feeling generous, please support the Kyle Pease Foundation.