Stories of Kindness from Around the World

Dear Neighbors

--by gipsysoul, posted May 25, 2017
The heart-opening impact of doing or witnessing small acts of kindness never ceases to astonish me. And the stories people tell about them are wonderfully contagious. Here is one that deeply touched hundreds of thousands of people this year, and moved me to write this post today.

On January 20, 2017, a tweet came down my newsfeed that drew my attention because it had been liked and retweeted by an unusually large number of people, and the numbers were climbing by the minute. As of right now (May 21, 2017), that tweet has been liked by 514,000 people and been retweeted 173,000 times.

It was written by Hend Amry who lives in Qatar. She describes herself as Lybian-American and her Twitter profile reads: "I am East and West, citizen and refugee. The melting pot is a failed paradigm, maybe more like a tossed salad. I am an international crouton."

Hend, as I quickly discovered, is very active on social media, and well-known for her witty ways of trying to dismantle stereotypes about Muslims. If you want to read more about her, you can search online for recent interviews she gave to Stepfeed and Tempest.

So, here is the message and photo she tweeted on January 20, 2017:

"After the Trump inauguration, some neighbors left this letter on my uncle's door in Cincinnati, Ohio." The letter read: "Dear Neighbors, Today begins a next stage for our country. No matter what happens, there are still a lot of people who will fight for your right to practice your religion, to continue to live your lives without discrimination. You are welcome in our neighborhood and if you need anything, please knock on our door."

That was such a small thing to do, and yet such a big thing too. Don't we all wish to have neighbors like that? Don't we all want to be able to trust that people in our community will welcome and protect us, despite our differences?

Re-reading the letter today, I felt moved all over again, wondering if these neighbors have any idea about how many people they touched with their caring hand-written note. I also wonder who ended up doing something similar, or different, in their own neighborhood because of reading Hend's story on social media. And this makes me wish that KindSpring could organize a 21-day challenge to invite more people in this online community and around the world to practice doing small acts of kindness toward those who are demonized and marginalized, and afraid for their safety or their lives. This platform would be a perfect place to build an inspiring collection of stories about simple ways to reach across racial, religious, political or national lines to counter stereotypes, bigotry and injustices in our lives, communities and countries. You can already find many such stories on Kindspring if you take the time to search for relevant keywords.

These times urgently need more of us to be active and creative about working through our conditioned fears of "others," to create bridge-building stories than can eventually dwarf the disheartening ones that regularly make the headlines. The fact is that we can all adopt a 21-day -- or a life-long -- practice to be a force for deeper understanding of our differences and shared humanity. As I finish writing this post, I am thinking, "Ok, if I treat what I just wrote as my Day #1 contribution to this vision, what will I do on day #2?" I think the edge for me would be to reach out to someone across the political divide. Maybe one of you has a story to share about something you or someone else did that will inspire me and others in this online community?

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Readers Comments

healingtree wrote: This is a wonderful gesture of community spirit and tolerance. A challenge on showing tolerance is a great idea. Suppose a KS member has to decide to take it on?
Mish wrote: My eyes teared up reading the note. What a wonderfully loving from the heart act of great meaning. Tolerance is so needed, esp. in our present world. Thank you for sharing this. I do feel tolerance is practiced by KindSpringers.
alisamom wrote: THAT is a great idea! Most challenges are organized by individual member-do you feel up to taking it on??
mindyjourney wrote: What a lovely note and Thank YOU for bringing to us at KS! Would be a great challenge :)). You can do! here is a link w/some info about:
Alisamom wrote: He is a very inspiring man for me and is really making me think about reconnecting with those on the extreme other end of the political spectrum....
kjoyw wrote: Sounds like a perfect topic for a challenge for KindSpring and you could be so eccribe in making this happen.
Marleen wrote: 💖💖💖💖💖
gipsysoul wrote: Thank you for the sweet comments and invitation to host a 21-day challenge myself. I do love the spirit of self-organized communities! This said, I would prefer to start with practicing this informally in my own life, and writing up some more stories over the summer. But I will think about the possibility of hosting a challenge this Fall, when I feel better prepared for that and have found a couple of friends who might like to co-facilitate. Alisamom, I look forward to watching the video later today. Thank you for sharing it.

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