It’s amazing how fucked-up shit always brings out the best in people.
Unless you’re a serial killer or Mitt Romney, it’s human nature to be compassionate when something bad happens to others, and it doesn’t much matter if that badness befalls people you know and love or a bunch of total strangers. Our hearts (and when I say “our” I mean “non-Republicans”) instinctively go out to the less fortunate. And even though it semi-pains me to say this, here’s the bottom line: there but for the grace of what’s-his-face, go I.
Over these past few days, I’ve heard so many inspiring Hurricane Sandy stories about people opening up their homes to those who lost power or suffered even worse misfortune (my friend Ralph’s cousin had an aunt who drowned in her apartment in Howard Beach), and these acts of generosity are so heartfelt and selfless that it has restored my faith in humanity. In other words, people don’t suck nearly as much as I had always thought they did.
And that includes me. I texted my ex-wife the other night and told her that she was welcome to crash in Brooklyn while she waited for power to be restored in Long Island. She passed but thanked me just the same. And that got me thinking about how I’d like to be friends with her again for all of the reasons that made us friends in the first place, to say nothing of how we loved each other and really never stopped. And it took nothing less than a goddamn hurricane to make me realize this.
Which leads me to the following question: why can’t we be caring, altruistic, loving human beings every day? I know a lot of us walk around thinking that we are (and you don’t have to Facebook me about it, I know that you’re all some kind of wonderful), but why do we need disaster to strike before we open up our hearts?
You know the answer as well as I do – we’re only human and, like it or not, life gets in the way. But what if compassion became a way of life? What if we all became Mother fucking Teresas?
This all comes as something of a revelation to me. I’m one of those people who walked around thinking that I was caring, altruistic and loving, although admittedly haven’t always shown it. It’s been there on the inside and that’s where it has pretty much stayed.
But I have to tell you, it feels damn good when that shit comes out.