We watched "How to Train Your Dragon" last night, a cute animated movie, and it made me cry. (Yeah, I know. Really silly.)
It is the story of Hiccup, a young Viking whose people have been fighting all sorts of very imaginative, destructive dragons for 300 years on the Isle of Misery, where it snows 9 months of the year and hails the other three. He is not hero material and is bullied somewhat by the other kids. But he manages to make friends with a Night Fury, the most terrible of dragons, and ride it, and eventually becomes a hero. That's the short version.
I'm not even quite sure what touched me so much in this. Maybe it's a boy who followed his instincts to be kind rather than destructive, and in so doing, changed his entire culture. And it is all about love, too -- between a boy and his father, his dragon (who is sort of cat-like and also a little dog-like), and learning to be true to who he is.
We have such power to change our world by changing how we act and react to the people and events that we encounter. I know that a kind word and a pleasant smile can change a surly clerk into one who is ready to help. I know that we may never know what effect our words and actions might have on another -- sometimes it can make all the difference.
I know that the only person I can change is me, and I get to decide what kind of a person I want to be: nobody else gets to decide that. I know that I must live with the results of my decisions, but I also know that there are only a few choices that are irrevocable, even though the next choices may be different than the one I just made.
That's what this movie reminded me about, I think. And kindness won. It does, every time, even when it doesn't seem that way.