Finding Goodness.



One day, a friend who lives inside the city limits of my little town, posted this status update.

“There’s a steer on my front porch”.

There’s a steer on my front porch, she wrote.

Now that’s funny stuff, I don’t care who you are.

A little comic relief is like a vitamin B-12 shot to us when the world seems to be free-falling into oblivion these days–into the abyss of social media, with its no-holds-barred comments and vile debates and fake stori

But it’s more than just social media.

There are travesties against humanity right outside our doors. There’s disease for which there is no cure and natural disasters that devastate human lives. There’s greed for money and power. There’s hunger and there’s war. Between nations. Between ethnic groups. Between denominations. Between ideologies. Between neighbors. So many wars. What’s good is seen as bad. What’s bad is seen as good.

Vertigo. The world has vertigo.

And our stomachs stay in knots.

So yes. Isn’t it refreshing that on an ordinary day there was a steer on my friend’s front porch? I mean, it’s just so good!

And I need more of it in my life.  You?

So when I’d had enough of ugly, I took matters into my own hands. I gave up news-watching and news-listening.  Oh, I hear about things—I’m not living with my head in the sand—but I’ve given up all the days and days of commentary—you know, the kind where the handsome Hollywood actor tells us all how the cow ate the cabbage.  Deleted him.  And others.  I’m going rogue now, and I find thinking on my own to be oh so liberating.  I recommend it if you too are feeling the same need to self-preserve—to dehydrate the fears and ideas others put in you, literally sucking us dry and robbing us of every ounce of joy in life. The ones who methodically and intentionally try to confuse us about goodness. Sometimes we seem on the verge of buying in to the lie that bad is winning.

Come on. We know better.

I have to say, I need zero extra encouragement to look out for bad stuff. Even on the brightest, most gorgeous days with blue skies and marshmallow clouds, I can imagine it lurking in the bushes, around the corner and a mile down the road. So when bad stuff happens, it just confirms what I suspected would come eventually. It’s one of my very worst traits. True confession.

See how important it is that I cling to goodness?  That we cling to goodness.

When it seems the whole world is forgetting about the goodness that lives in most all human hearts, well… someone has to remember it.  I’m volunteering for the job.  I’m not alone.

I’ll tell you who hasn’t forgotten about good. My friend John. He publishes a newspaper with only good news. Seriously. Only good news. He’s the hardest working writer I know, running all over the Texas Hill Country trying to photograph and report as much good news as he can. He writes about and photographs dog parades, boat races, charity fish fries, concerts, art shows, benefits, awards given to law enforcement officers, new businesses and so much more. He applauds any good endeavor he knows about, and he does it all with his trademark smile plastered all over his face. Even if he’s been going all day and it’s one hundred degrees outside, he smiles. John is one of the most beloved individuals in the community. His mission is spreading “good”, and he’s intentional about it!

So how do we push on in joy in a world with so much sadness, meanness and tragedy?

What if we could take a sabbatical of sorts, from being mad and afraid and offended.  It’s an exhausting load to carry anyway.  Let’s lay it down for a bit.  During this “pause”, let’s think about only good.  I mean really think about.  Soon, we’ll begin to see so much, we’ll have to write it down because intuitively we know we’ll need to remember it for the rest of our journey.  It will seem we can’t write fast enough, because there’s so darn much of it.  So much goodness.  And you know what?   It will stabilize us, because that’s its job.

When my oldest son was a little boy, he loved to watch Mister Roger’s Neighborhood. He hands-down preferred it over Sesame Street. It always baffled me because Sesame Street had all the bells and whistles, with high-dollar production and occasional movie stars as guest hosts. But no.  He loved Mister Rogers best. He was in love with Lady Aberlin. He was mesmerized by Meow-Meow, the Trolley, and King Friday. I think it must have been because it was a simple show, so full of goodness. I believe it was completely due to the good heart of the man who created it.

One of my favorites quotes of all times is from Mister Rogers himself—also a fan of good stuff.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ “

That is truth.  That dog will hunt.

That is seeing the good stuff.

Today when I got up, I sat out on my porch and watched the sun break through the clouds that brought us much needed rain yesterday.  God is big and he’s at work here.  He knows what he’s doing. No matter what, good wins. It triumphs. It soars.

It’s simple, really—finding goodness.

Simple like finding a steer on the front porch on an ordinary day.