There are times during tragedy that it is easy to see the trouble in the world; the loss of a child, a mass shooting. They make us question our core beliefs. It’s easy to believe when things are good, not so much when things are bad.
I am the opposite; it is during times of prosper that I struggle in my walk, and in times of despair I find it easy to cling to God. Though I am not the norm, and I understand that.
Today is a bad day, and it’s hard to understand why bad things happen, especially when they happen to children. So today, instead of looking at the sadness in the world, or trying to make you smile with a witty remark, I want to focus on the good things in this world that are so very often overlooked.
I think of Warm Streets, which is a local organization that collects basic needs for the homeless. Freedom 4/24 is one I’ve personally worked with by running their Run 4 Their Lives 5k two years running now. They work with organizations that rescue enslaved women and children around the world. I think of the Cleft Palate team that my little one sees, and will see until she’s 18. They are all specialists, and they all donate their time monthly to get together and see all the children in the area affected by cleft lips or palates. All for free.
I think about those paying off others’ layaways, like my friend Michelle, who inspired others to do it as well. I think about the random acts of kindness all over the world that are just that; random. I think of foster parents and people that donate money and time to the SPCA. I think of those that truly dedicate their entire lives to serve others.
I think of my daughter, whose only wish for her 8th birthday was that everyone donate to St. Jude to help other children. We did this with Operation Smile for the little one’s first birthday, but would have never asked or implied an eight-year-old to do the same. I asked her if she realized that it meant she received nothing, and she said yes. And she raised hundreds for other children battling cancer with donations coming in from people that I’d met only twice that work for a software that I use and have become dear friends; how cool is that? I beamed with pride that a person so small could do something so big without human provocation.
I think of the Secret Santa that traveled to New York and New Jersey to hand out $100 bills to strangers, refusing to reveal his name. Or that on December 4, an anonymous donor dropped 48 $100 bills into the Salvation Army kettle outside a K-Mart. Or my sister, who instead of coordinating the usual gift exchange for her bank division, requested that they bring a toy for Toys for Tots.
I think of the mother of the late Dallas Cowboy Jerry Brown, who, in the ultimate act of forgiveness, invited the driver of the crash that killed her son to attend his funeral to grieve.
These stories are of huge acts of kindness and seemingly small ones; but to the recipient, they are the world. There is good in this world, but WE have to make it. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that good deeds, acts of kindness, inexplicable generosity, are not reserved for those deemed “worthy”. No one is too small to make it better. It doesn’t happen on its own, it is caused and is contagious. And yes, though a bit cliche, be the good that you don’t see in the world…that you want to see in the world. Then, when the next tragedy strikes, and it will, you can say “I know that there is more good than bad, because I have seen it, and I have lived it.”