A Broken World in Need of Love, Sweet Love – By Guest Blogger Kerry Charles
Why? Why are people so mean? So nasty toward others? I hope you do not anticipate finding an answer within this post. The truth is that I have no idea of the real answer. It, however, is something I think about quite often. I tend to believe the answer has to be deeper than one’s upbringing or lot in life. Maybe it is the conditioning of those circumstances that spew negative energy. I don’t know. What I do know is – clears throat – “What the world needs now is love, sweet love.” Alright, so that is kind of corny, but it is so true. “It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.”
Being a television news anchor is a privilege. Doing it in one’s hometown is a high honor. Seriously. I mean, I get to share stories that might otherwise go untold, use my platform to elevate others, and inspire children. I get to introduce people to movers and shakers and hopefully tap into a bit of their personality or lighter side. We get to take viewers to places and spaces they might never venture. Sadly, on many occasions, I meet people during the lowest moments of their lives. Sometimes I deliver stories that create so much anxiety and are gut- wrenching. Those stories become personal because they happen in the community that raised me.
Oh, for what it is worth, I often get caught in the rabbit hole of social media. It creates an escape from the loads I carry from heavy stories; like teenagers being shot and killed in city parks. My Instagram is chock full of positive energy. I take screenshots of affirmations that I will get around to reposting (don’t act like I am the only one whose photo album has a bunch of inspiring words that are longing to be shared). I scroll. I find something funny, something useful. I scroll some more and find something bizarre — then, something pops up that clearly snuck past the algorithm that is supposed to only show positive posts. Usually, it ends up being a post that showcases violence or people cursing each other out over something silly or a tribute to the latest celebrity who became an ancestor. I only mention the celebrity part because, compounded with the other mess, those send me to a sad zone. I have learned – am learning – how to guard my mental health. I cannot hand the power of my mind’s master control over to what has become a vice for many: social media.
Back on track, Kerry. Why are people so nasty toward others? I don’t know. I just think it is incumbent upon each of us to try and offer the world a little more positive energy than we did yesterday. Am I perfect? Absolutely not. I try to be, but don’t always deliver. Even still, I think it is important we practice the quality or state of being kind – kindness. Thank you, Merriam Webster.
I grappled with the direction to take this entry. I started, stopped, and started over so many times. Then, came one of those stories on my home turf. It started about two miles from my current home.
Tuesday, December 20, 2022, around 1:40 AM.
Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz.
That is the sound of my cell phone vibrating…
“AMBER Alert. Columbus, Ohio…”
The Columbus Division of Police and the Ohio State Highway Patrol had kicked off a frantic search for five-month-old twins, Kyair and Kason Thomas. They were in their mother’s car when it was stolen. Someone took the car, saw the twins in the vehicle, and kept going. We later learned the suspect dumped Kyair at Dayton International Airport. “Dumped” is the word. She left him in the dark, in the cold, alone. Journalistically, I should keep my opinions to myself. When it comes to five-month-olds being treated in such a way, all that ‘not sharing my opinion stuff’ goes out the window. So, I ask, how in the world could someone be so cruel to young children? How could someone take parents through such agony? How? Why? Aren’t we to be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers? Well, prayers were answered. Days later the suspect was found in Indianapolis. We’d soon learn Kason had been discovered. Alive. Safe. His family sped through winter’s wrath to get to him. Kason made it home for Christmas.
I truly believe Mother Earth sheds tears when faced with the realization that we treat each other so poorly. I know some people whose mere presence combats ugliness that cycles the air, gets inhaled, then piped out of our lungs. It is comforting to know good people exist in this world.
One of my more recent experiences with pure kindness came in September. It was one week before my 40th birthday (hey, black don’t crack). I had thrown a little shindig at my place. At midnight, we gathered on the terrace for a toast. We were two speeches in when my eyes closed, knees buckled. I fainted. I was so embarrassed. That feeling was soon replaced by the support of those present. They knew I spent the day getting everything in order so their experience would be great. They lacked knowledge that I really wasn’t taking care of myself that day. Nonetheless, I witnessed so much love and kindness. My cousin who works in the medical field held my head in her lap and monitored my vital signs. Another friend kept giving me water, even spilled a bunch on my party shirt. One buddy ran to raid the pantry in search of carbohydrates. Another friend prayed. Everyone stayed by my side. When I apologized for the fainting, each person assured me it was no problem. They meant it. They stayed and loved me through the experience. One partygoer had me return to the terrace so she could deliver a toast. I was so grateful for the energy shared that night. Although I thought the party was over when I blacked out, it wasn’t. Some folks stayed until four in the morning. No one complained. They took care of me and assured me it was a memorable night. (Note: Nothing like that has ever happened to me. Also, drink plenty of water and eat!)
I shared kindness when a longtime friend called to revisit a situation that led to our falling out years ago. Although things haven’t been the same, we have been back in stride for some time now. However, I didn’t know this person had carried a burden, maybe some guilt regarding our estrangement. Those concerns were centered on that person’s personality traits affecting our friendship. We got on the phone. I listened and listened and listened. A part of me didn’t think the conversation was at all necessary. Most of me knew this was a friend who doesn’t share much, and was downloading, downloading, downloading. It was my job to listen. I did. When it was my turn to share, I offered my opinion. I also experienced extreme vulnerability from my friend, who went on about the effects of my holding space for them. I was lauded for validating and receiving the experiences presented to me. A younger me might have jumped in, shared my opinions, and tried to correct my friend’s thought process. My friend shared so much with me that evening. I was proud of myself for being able to listen twice as much as I spoke. Without knowing it, I was extending the type of vibrations needed to help someone through a space of confusion. Without knowing it, I was being kind.
As we enter a new year, let’s resolve to share positive energy with the world. A little kindness goes a long way. We don’t have to make the greatest shifts, but we can take it day-by-day. We can get in a place where our incremental efforts will join forces to make a big difference. If we practice that notion, it will become a way of life. Let’s normalize our efforts. Goodness knows we need more kindness, positive energy, and love. Love. “No, not just for some, oh, but for every, every, everyone.” Thank you, Jackie DeShannon.