Courtney Hill: Compassion or intolerance?
August 30, 2017
Since moving to Steamboat almost nine years ago (my husband, more than 20 years ago) we fell in love with this small town and community. We remember the days when some restaurants didn't take credit cards but served you anyway, allowing you to return to pay in cash — when, anywhere you went, you knew someone. These days are fewer. With our growing community comes inevitable change; some aspects of this change, we embrace, and others, we are not so happy or proud of.
In 2014-15, Colorado was the second-fastest growing state, bringing in more than 100,000 new residents. Though now moving at a slower pace, growth is still apparent. With more people in any area, intolerance can compete with compassion and patience.
I recall a trip I took to Boise, Idaho, which has a much less dense population than Colorado, and locals would actually stop to ask us if we were OK or needed help. In comparison, a different tone is emerging in our town.
In one of our busiest shopping centers, a couple experienced car trouble and could not move from the curb after picking someone up. The result was people driving by uttering profanities and making profane gestures toward the older couple instead of looking outside of themselves and asking if they needed help or if there was a reason they are not moving. Is this an indicator of where we are heading as a community? I hope not.
I am not blind to the number of residents still doing kind acts, however, tomorrow, or the next day or next month — when you are running to work or appointments and fighting our traffic, and construction or a line is moving too slowly — pause and take a moment before reacting to anything, and ask yourself where is your focus. Is it on yourself, solely? Does it include the thought that something may be going on in this person's life that you're not aware of? A divorce, financial strain, Illness?
This slight slow-down and conscious thought will not solve everything, I know, but practiced, it can help create a different temperature and decrease the stress that ultimately impacts our town.
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"If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change." W.Dyer.