Even though circumstances may lead you to believe otherwise
In the current state of the world — with the coronavirus pandemic coupled with the worldwide unrest that was sparked by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the end of May — one would think that civility, respect and caring for our fellow human has completely gone by the wayside.
It isn’t hard to believe this, and this pessimistic view of people and the world at large is fanned by the various media in the stories they print or air on the news. You would come to this conclusion, depending on the media which you consume. Or which stories you choose to focus on: the good news, or the bad news.
Some people, the eternal pessimists/doomsayers, will say “there isn’t any ‘good news.’” Since i prefer to live on the brighter side of the street — and thus focus my attention on the good in people and the world — I’m here to point out that yes, there IS still good news in the world, and there ARE still good, caring, helpful people. Take the following example:
The other day I read an article in our daily newspaper about an older White man from a small (and all-white) Minnesota community who went “above and beyond the call of duty” so to speak to help out a Black woman who had a flat tire on her trailer while passing through said small town.
This man came upon the woman, saw her troubles and immediately came to her assistance, buying her lunch and also the items she needed to fix her tire and get her back on the road again. The article included quotes by the Black woman on how grateful she was for all his help, and ended with he White man saying, to the effect that, “we are all people, no matter what color we are, and we need to help one another.”
Wow. Pretty profound. And yet very true. Some people get it, and I’m happy to note that one of them is a 76-year-old White man who lives in a small town in my state (which is well-known by now for its ingrained racism and intolerance to “minorities”). Surely he isn’t the only one. Although my state — Minnesota, in the upper Midwest U.S. — is known for not-so-good things, there ARE still decent, kind, caring people here … as this story reminds us.
(As kind of an aside, I too live in a small Minnesota town which is overwhelmingly White — and of a largely conservative bent, as in supporters of President Trump. Although I may grumble a lot about living in a place in which there are many narrow-minded people, I know for a fact that said people will rally for their neighbors in a crisis. I’ve seen this countless times, and it’s wonderful, so in their defense my neighbors aren’t all that bad.)
Of course, all the gloom-and-doom news that dominates the newspaper is everywhere else, and the above-referenced story about the Good Samaritan was buried on the second-to-last page of the second section of the paper. So “good” news is often hidden, or downplayed, in favor or all the drama.
Anyway, after I read this heartwarming story I said to myself, “Why are you so surprised when you read stuff like this? You know darn well there’s lots of good people with good intentions out there.” Positive stories of do-gooders abound; they happen every day, in various locations, though they just aren’t made into a news story. But they do happen.
As a former newspaper reporter myself, I heard countless times about how “you people only print the bad stuff!” Or “there’s nothing but bad news because that sells newspapers.” I’ve heard it all and am not going to argue with it. Part of the reason I left newspapering 15 years ago was because I saw the direction the media was heading into — and I didn’t care for it. My predictions were true, and the news biz is dramatically different now.
Though I’m far from highly religions, I do believe there are numerous good passages in the Bible for living a good life, excellent advice that we all might follow whether or not we adhere to an organized religion. One such passage is “you reap what you sow.” If you reap, or spread, hate and discontent, you will sow (or receive) hate and discontent. It’s that simple.
Furthermore, if you go out into the world expecting that everyone is “bad” and you may have to fight off the “bad” people, well, that’s probably what you’re going to encounter. We see this daily in the news of all those so-called “justice vigilantes” (don’t get me started on that). I think — in my “good vibes, love one another” hippie-like mindset — that we need less guns on the street and more random acts of kindness. Just sayin’.
Some may call me a fool (and I don’t mind) but I refuse to live my life dominated by fear. Actually it’s a wonderfully liberating feeling and I highly recommend it to everyone. Yes, there are things we need to be aware of and prepare for, be cautious of, and so on. I do not deny or downplay the importance of having looking out around you, of having your own back. I’m just saying that living your life as though tragedy is around every corner is not exactly the key to having a happy, safer life.
Back to the story about the Good Samaritan that I started with; I’m going to share some more happy, positive, feel-good stories:
— A couple of months ago I heard on the radio a story about a teenage male (somewhere here in the U.S., I don’t remember exactly) who found a purse on the street containing $10,000 in cash. He took it home to his parents, who contacted the police, who found the rightful owner, giving this story a happy ending. This young man was quoted in the story as saying his parents taught him right from wrong; we can all be glad that some parents are still sending this message to their kids.
— Recently a man in my state found a wallet with a lot of cash and a check for $35,000 (seriously?!?! Who carries this amount of money around??). Since the wallet contained identification, the man was able to return it to a very grateful owner, who rewarded his good deed. The man said he was setting an example for his kids on “doing the right thing” and I for one am proud of him. We need more of that in the world.
— Two years ago I was walking along the Interstate freeway because my car had died. Along with that my phone also died. So desperate and frustrated, I grabbed my purse and started walking. Numerous vehicles whizzed by me, further frustrating me and eroding my trust in the “good” in my fellow humans. I’d walked a mile or maybe more when a big white truck stopped and a friendly young man asked what was up. I told him what happened. He asked where I lived, I told him, and he said he was going right by there so he’d drop me off on his way to the Cities.
He was a kind, intelligent man young enough to be my son, and we had a great conversation. He said his conscience would have NEVER let him allow a woman to continue walking along on the freeway “because my mama would’ve skinned me alive.” I laughed and said, “You’ve got a good mama, and you’re a good son.” True to his word, he dropped me off at home and refused payment. I thanked him profusely.
Upon hearing the story my youngest sister, who lives in the world of over-cautiousness that my mom also occupied, asked, “Weren’t you afraid?” I said, “Oh hell no!! I was so thankful and relieved that after so many cars went by me that someone FINALLY stopped to help!” Yes I know something “could have” happened, but it didn’t and I wasn’t worried that it would.
So for whatever it’s worth, people of the world, you are NOT surrounded by a bunch of haters, vigilantes, assholes, do-no-good people who just want to scam and victimize you; there ARE good people doing good works in the local and the global community as well. I list but a few small examples of positivity. You just have to focus on them, the good, and you will see it.
“Come on people now, smile on your brother. Everybody get together, Try and love one another right now.” — The Youngbloods.