I'm not sure I can remember a time when so many East Texas families and friends were at odds. Of course, it's not just here--it's all around the nation. It's election week and in some ways it feels like it's all coming to a head, for better or worse.

Like many of you, I'm ready for our next chapter. Yes, I have my hopes for what the election look like. I long for Covid to become a part of our history. We're, frankly, exhausted. And exhausted people struggle to be their "best selves" anyway. Especially when we're surrounded with so much stress in our headlines and in our communities. It feels emotionally acidic, both online and "in real life."

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Some people have chosen to amplify their anger in ways that are destructive to their fellow citizens and to themselves. Others, thankfully, have become even more compassionate.

Yesterday I was taking my afternoon walk. Nature has always been a balm for my heart, but particularly this year. It's a type of therapy for me. I was listening to music and trudging along like I always do, though somewhat extra frazzled about the state of our union. But then...

I came up the hill behind my house where there's a particularly sandy area by the side of the road and found that someone had drawn a heart in the sand. Just about a foot away they'd written the words: "You are loved. We're gonna be okay."

I smiled. I felt better. A little bit at least. They took time out of their day to simply send a message of love and hope to a stranger. Me. Thank you, whoever you are.

The rest of my walk was spent pondering that someone took the time, not to belittle, not to yell, not to denigrate strangers for holding different beliefs and views than they held. It was powerful, that small act.

I'm sure you've experienced these random kindnesses. Perhaps someone paid for your coffee in the drive-thru. Maybe you saw someone help someone out of the blue for no reason at all except out of common courtesy. Maybe it was just a smile from a stranger when you were having a difficult day. It matters. These "little" things we do out of love can change someone's day. So do the "little" things we do out of fear, or anger, or just wanting to blame someone else for...something.

We get to choose who we are and what we do in the world. Again--it matters.

On the walk back home I came back by the place where the message had been drawn in the sand and, after looking around for cars, knelt down and wrote "thank you."

I hope they see it.

"Thank you."

It mattered.