Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Inertia

Inertia is an interesting word. In physics it refers to an objects resistance to change. In particular, it has to do with motion. That is, if it is in a state of rest the object wants to remain that way, and vice versa. (Not that an object has a "will" and actually has desires to stay in whatever state they are in. You know what I mean.)

Like objects, many people tend to be in a state of inertia. They do not want anything to change. They themselves do not want to change and resist anything that might force change upon them.

The problem is, things change. I look at a photo of myself as a little boy. That boy had such an innocent face because for the most part he was sheltered from anything that would cloud the sunshine in his heart. He had never seen a presidential assassination, riots in the cities, police brutality, violence or injustice. He was not aware of predatory sex crimes committed against children. He'd never had his heart broken or experienced the pain of breaking another's heart.

These experiences change us. We dislike this change. We'd prefer innocence, but life presses change upon us and resistance is futile.

Good things change us, too. A kind word from a stranger, a gift from an unknown friend, an unexpected thank you card, a warm smile, a thoughtful gesture... these little things remind us that we do not live alone in a barren universe.

Sometimes inertia keeps us from noticing the others around us. We are going along in our own little tunnel or bubble or whatever you would call it, and we fail to notice that a co-worker, or a gas station attendant could use a kind word, a warm gesture, an unexpected word of encouragement. In psychological terms it's ontological affirmation. This affirmation lets them, and us, know that we're all connected, all in this together.

Don't let inertia keep you from thinking of others. Let's pay attention to what is going on around us today. All too often we're simply lost in the muddle of our own thoughts. Or maybe we're just embarrassed to show others we care.

Today, Tuesday, is a good day to try something different, the sweet milk of kindness. Make it a great one.

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