by Matt Mattson
I know everything out there seems really messy, really ugly, and really complicated. Race, Gender, Guns, Russia, Oppression, Violence, Anger, Hopelessness.
But the answer is and always has been right in front of you. No, I don't mean posting your opinion on social media. No I don't mean Googling an article that will reinforce your worldview.
I mean right in front of you. The space right in front of your nose. That space between you and anybody else you encounter. The way we fill the space between us and every other person is what creates our world.
Take a moment to reflect. Think about the last 3, 5, 10 encounters you've had with other human beings. Think about your moments with friends, your interactions with co-workers, your moments with your kids or your partner or your lover, your interactions with strangers, your little moments with baristas, servers, or store clerks. Think about those momentary interactions. Don't think about what the other person did, think about how you filled the space between you and that other person - another person who is magnificent, another person who is filled with stories and potential and lessons and pain and joy. How did you fill that space?
Did you fill it with glee? Did you fill it with curiosity? Did you fill it with indifference? Did you fill it with wonder? Did you fill it with generosity? Did you fill it with suspicion? Did you fill it with gratitude? Did you fill it with love and attention and care? Did you fill it with a forgettable rush or with an eye-widening moment of surprising connection?
If you're like me, you are desperately trying to figure out how to make the world better, safer, kinder, and less lonely. You're considering legislation to support, demonstrations to join, politicians to champion, or donations to offer. None of that is wrong. But none of it matters if you don't start very close to home.
That space. That space right in front of your nose. That space that just barely separates your soul from countless others. That space between you and every other person you encounter - no matter how fleeting the encounter - is the stuff that makes up our world. How we choose to fill that space determines the world in which we live.
Be intentional with that space. You have control over it. You can fill that space with all the things that you value most. The choices you make in filling that space will determine how you're remembered, how you impact others, how influential you are, and how much you grow into your own human potential every day.
I choose to fill that space with Social Excellence. I try anyway. I hope you will fill it with what you believe the world should be made of.