Time Magazine has recently nominated their person of the year for 2016. (For the record, they’ve also had Stalin and Hitler on that list and their reasons are anything but complimentary.)
Of the seven billion people on the planet, many do pretty fabulous things on a daily basis. I’d like to propose someone that may be a worthier candidate.
So, gentle reader, you deserve the title, if:
1. If you’ve lost work and sleep to care for an ailing relative.
2. If you saw a nut job draw a weapon in an attempt to kill innocent civilians and you intercepted him.
3. If you grit your teeth and kicked a bad habit.
4. If you noticed a new mom at a restaurant, holding a crying baby and looking hungry, exhausted and unglamorous, and you approached and offered to cut up the cold eggs and sausage on her plate so she, too, can eat.
5. If you’ve expressed outrage by donating to causes you believe in or organized the community.
6. If you stayed up until 1 a.m. and gotten up at six just to prepare the most inspiring lesson possible for your students and to give thorough feedback to their essays. Even if a quarter of them may have been plagiarized off of Wikipedia and this wouldn’t get you a raise or, most of the time, a thank you.
7. If you saved an animal from an untimely demise.
8. If your work helped a woman become a mother.
9. If a friend has hit a rough patch and been gradually fading from contact and you’ve got a funny feeling, so you continued to call, visit and bring dinner, even if it made you feel stalker-ish. And even when she slurred her words on the phone one Saturday morning and said she couldn’t talk, promising to call back later, you didn’t write her off as hung over, until you learned she was gone later that day.
10. If you’ve healed someone’s body and helped them stave off illness.
11. If you’ve healed someone’s mind and helped them stave off illness.
12. If you opened up your home or pantry to someone in need, not just to put a checkmark or to clean out expired items.
13. If you risked your life to serve your country – whether standing watch so that others may sleep, or rushing to the aid of a resident a mile away.
14. If you made music that made people weep for its truth and beauty.
15. If you heard hate speech from someone in the same room and spoke out.
16. If your words carried commitment to truth. Whether sharing that Facebook article about so-and-so being a child molester or calling someone a bitch for cutting in line, you ensured those words didn’t come from a place of spite or from somewhere in Eastern Europe where a teenager was creating content on a computer in his parents’ basement.
17. If you put a roof over someone’s head and made a child laugh, nobody suspecting the fierceness of your love and the grueling labor that it took to get there.