If you have ever read anything from the Kindness Blog, you will undoubtedly find yourself lifted up and feeling good about the kindness of many people. While there is so much negativity in the news today, and politicos are sniping at each other instead of dealing with real issues–even the tiniest bright light is a warm and hopeful spot in the darkness.
I love reading about the unexpected generosity of others, the random acts of kindness, the ‘pay it forward’ stories. We must remember that, for all the bad and horrific things that happen in the world, there are still good people who do good things. It’s the old ‘stone in the pond’ ripple effect: whatever you put out into the world, the “ripples” come back to you even stronger. So good out, good in. Conversely, bad out, bad in.
I like to think that at times our better angels direct us to opportunities to be good and to do good. Sometimes we get that little pull right behind our heart to reach out to a stranger, praise a child, compliment a new mom on her baby, tell an old man that his blue shirt really brings out his blue eyes. We may never know the impact these things may have on people, but giving in to a good instinct usually brings out our best.
When I lived in Texas, I saw many men and women begging at traffic intersections. Always I felt embarrassed for them and avoided their eyes. Sometimes I would roll down my window and hand them a 1 or 5 dollar bill and speed off as soon as traffic would allow. I let my own feelings of embarrassment overshadow my impulse to give. I’m trying to do better now, and it doesn’t always mean shoving money at someone.
Not long ago I saw something either online or on TV where a man with a camera went up to different street people and asked them what they wanted for Christmas. The answers were surprising: one man asked for a new pair of sneakers, another man asked for a battery charger for his cell phone; the only way he could stay in contact with his grandchildren. A older woman asked for a hamburger. A teenage boy asked for a harmonica. A smiling man asked for a warm hat, and a young woman asked for food.
The man with the camera came back with every single thing these folks asked for. Except for the woman who asked for a hamburger (she received a takeout box with not only the burger, but fries, a piece of pie, a salad and a drink, plus a gift card for more food), everyone was surprised and delighted, and showered the man with thanks. The burger woman was too choked up to even smile, but the look on her face told us all how she felt.
We cannot let the negativity around us pull us down into despair or hopelessness. There are always people who are going to do good things, and people who will do bad things. I choose to believe that the good acts of good people far outweigh the bad. Oh, they may not have the same publicity as the bad things, but they are there just the same, working for the good.
Put out hope, and hope will return. Put out positive thoughts, an positive thinking will return. Look for the good, and the good will come looking for you.