Oct 12, 2017

Look For Pockets of Good

I can't seem to get this thought out of my head as of late. It is undeniably true. I get so caught up in sadness with the world around me. When I watch the news, when I hear the president speak, when I see the many natural disasters wreaking havoc around the world, when I watch the persecution of certain groups of people simply because of their religion or the color of their skin, when I see people being mean to each other, when I see the disparity between the 'haves' and the 'have-nots', when I hear hate speech....my heart breaks with each piece of bad news. I'm overwhelmed with the wretched state of humanity sometimes. I get super disappointed in people. I become overly critical and cynical. I often expect the worst in people because that is what I see time and time again.

But then I'm reminded of all the people out there doing good...doing their part in their little part of the world. And the cynicism begins to fade, the sadness turns to joy, the hopelessness is replaced by hope. I hear stories of people who work their entire lives for those wrongly accused and oppressed as is the case of Bryan Stevenson with the Equal Justice Initiative. I read first hand accounts of Jeremy Courtney with Preemptive Love putting himself and his family in a war zone to help Iraqis and reach across the racial/religious divide. I catch glimpses of random people doing kind things for other and it melts my heart. I watched with tears in my eyes as neighbor helped neighbor over and over again in the replaying scenes from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. When I start looking, I become overwhelmed with the amount of people doing good. To me, this is what I envision the Kingdom of God on earth looking like. Millions of small pockets of people loving people, helping them where they are, sacrificing for the common good, putting others first.

My new mantra has become: "Look for pockets of good." If I choose to look for those, the disappointments fade. I become a little more gracious towards others. I feel my cynical heart melting and being replaced with compassion for those who act out in anger and fear. I learn from a man who knows all too well. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of those pockets of good. He actively loved those who hated him, he wanted reconciliation, he wanted to bridge the divide, not make a deeper chasm. He challenges my anger towards the mean-spirited, the violent, the hateful, the self-centered. He beautifully orates:

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,
begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.
Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the liar,
but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.
Through violence you may murder the hater,
but you do not murder hate.
In fact, violence merely increases hate.
So it goes.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

I recently read an amazing book by Brene Brown called, "Rising Strong." It said alot of things that were hard to hear. I'm still ruminating on this book. It's too raw and real to put into words right now. But the one part that stood out to me was when she said, "People, for the most part, are doing the best they can." *sigh* I don't often hold that point of view. I'm sad to admit, I don't often give others the benefit of the doubt. I'm learning, I'm failing, I'm getting back up again and trying. But if I am able to keep that idea alive in my mind, it plays nicely with: "look for pockets of good." 

When you really start actively looking for pockets of good and believing that people are doing the best they can, then you start seeing beauty everywhere, all around you. The amount of organizations and random people you see doing good become overwhelming and too numerous to keep up with. It doesn't matter the religious affiliation, the cause, the motive...people loving and helping other people is a beautiful sight - if you only look for it...you will see it.

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