Please stop everyone.

I walked out of the building where Nancy works. I heard singing.

0630091931Since she works for the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir in the Purdue Fort Wayne Music Building, that wasn’t surprising. What was surprising was the source. A group of middle school students, on lunch break during choir camp, were practicing singing. Actually, they were practicing the building blocks of singing – holding notes, following a director, changing pitch in small and large jumps. The director was a high school volunteer, joyfully giving up a week to help these students and their director, having fun at lunch helping kids play with music.

Lunch break, volunteer, middle and high school, choir camp.

When I read comments from people my age who are staring at screens talking about how lazy kids today are, I cringe. Which kids? Which everyone? Not these choir kids.

I work in a hospital. I watch people die. I know that everyone dies. So that’s a generalization that I’ll accept. I’m unwilling to accept most other generalizations. All 73 million millennials are this or that? All 72 million boomers are this or that? All anything are idiots or amazing, ingrates or awesome, lazy or industrious, scoundrels or saints?

There is another everyone that I’m committed to, though also uncomfortable with.

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone,” Paul writes. It’s in a list of hard things for the people who choose to identify themselves as loved by God. Live in harmony. Bless rather than mock. Buy lunch for your enemy. Offer a bottle of water to the people on the other side of the line. Honor one another above yourself. Associate willingly with people who are viewed as having low status.

I’m guessing that Paul might suggest that this compassion for everyone begins in our minds and extends to the tip of our fingers. Our pattern of likes provides an outline of our thoughts, a record of our heartbeat.

The title lacks punctuation. It should be please stop “everyone”. Unless you are ready to seek to live at peace with everyone. As far as it depends on you.