We Are ALL Doing Our Best


It’s Christmas, and you know what that means… It means that people apparently turn crazy.

Not really, but kind of.

And then you hear all these songs everywhere you go about this being the most wonderful time of the year. But it seems like everyone is mostly rushing around like idiots trying so hard to complete everything that they are just WAY too busy to enjoy the season.

This is not true of everyone, but there are enough crazy ones out there that it gets kind of tempting to join them.

But the thing is, you have to slow down and take a breath to notice the ones who are truly exemplifying the true spirit of this season. And I’m not talking about Christianity or Jesus or any religion at all. Not specifically anyway. What I’m talking about is kindness.

If you were to ask me about all the problems going on in our world today, I would tell you that what I think we need most to fix them all is kindness. Kindness for our friends and family. Kindness for strangers. Kindness for the earth we live on. And maybe most especially, kindness for ourselves.

What we forget is that we are all doing the best we can with what we have to work with in the moment.

WE are ALL doing the best we can. Repeat that to yourself. We are all doing the very best we can.

Do you think that’s bullshit?

I don’t. You know why? Because we cannot possibly know more than what we know right now in this very minute. We can try harder tomorrow with what we learned today, but we can’t do shit about that right now. Right now, we are all doing the best we can.

Sometimes our best is yelling at doctors and nurses over the phone because they won’t listen to you about how sick your mother is. Sometimes our best is baking 6 dozen cookies and getting all the shopping completed for Christmas. Sometimes our best fixes a preschooler tantrum and sometimes it starts one. Sometimes our best is good enough, and sometimes its not nearly, or maybe it is just exactly right. It all depends on the moment, and the expectations, I suppose.

When my mom was in the last few weeks of her life, I had a song in my head all the time. It was actually from a show my daughter directed last summer. The song is called, “A Little More Homework,” and it’s about how we all are works in progress. How we’re all doing the best we can, and we should try to recognize and honor that if we’re going to be friends, because we really do depend on one another. I listened to that song almost every night in my kitchen as I made dinner in the month while my mom was dying. I didn’t know why I was listening at first, then at the end, as my mom was picking out the last gifts she was going to give anyone in her life, I got it. My mom was the perfect living example of that idea, especially in the last years of her life. She never saw people for who they were exactly, or for who society would judge them as. It was more like she saw them for who they were trying to be, and she looked for the best in them and knew that they were striving so hard all the time to be better.

We played that rather unconventional song at her funeral. I realized that if she had any kind of message to tell people, other than simply, “Love one another,” it would be to give each other a damn break and know that we’re all trying.

So I tried to exemplify that today. I tried to look at every person that I came across as someone who was trying… The cashier in the long line at the store who probably had her own Christmas shit to be doing. The people I almost bumped into in the crowed aisles. The lady on the phone who was trying to help me fix some back child support I’m owed. Everyone. I thought of every single person I came in contact with as someone who was trying their very best.

Want to know why I did that? Not just because my mom believed that and would’ve wanted that, but because I am doing my best all the time. Aren’t you? I mean, really? Aren’t you? Your results may not be what you had hoped for in every instance. And some days, you may have more to give to your own cause than others. But really, don’t you try your hardest?

And the thing is, once I started to look for that, once I started to see everyone as someone trying their very best, then I had all these people being really freaking nice to me. I found people in all corners of the store and in every aisle just downright friendly and full of Christmas spirit. The crowed stores and the throngs of people turned into a lovely place to be. Really. Just like that.

So, that’s my Christmas wish. That you may look at everyone, treat everyone, like they are doing their very best today. Know that while they may not be perfect or anywhere even close to perfect, that we ALL have a more homework to do. And that we all still deserve a kind smile.

May your days be merry and bright, friends.



One thought on “We Are ALL Doing Our Best

  1. And kindness begets kindness. I started doing (or trying to do) one good deed a day. Nothing huge, just something small in the course of the day that might make someone’s day easier, or brighter, or more friendly. Because you know what? When someone does something nice for me, it makes me want to be kind in return.

    I believe what you say…everyone is doing their best (for the most part!). Sometimes a person’s best doesn’t seem like much, but I try to remember that I don’t know anything about their life and what they’ve been through or are going through. Wouldn’t I want the same courtesy on my crumby days?

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