It doesn’t fail. Every day I log into my email and see the news completely saturated with disasters, fatalities and celebrity goofs (because they are so ‘perfect’ we have to find some fault to make ourselves feel better). It’s easy to feel bogged and down and become cynical with life. Once that happens, every one is out to get you. If someone is nice, They are out to GET you! If a person asks an honest question, they are out to GET you! Oh and the barista behind the bar, you know the one with the fashion mullet and too many piercings who probably goes to art school and that you ‘think’ is judging you based on your awesome pixy cut and swirly arm tattoos , but in truth you are the one who is judging her? Well, she’s out to GET you too. Boo!
I too, have become cynical and nit-picky and angry at the world. As we age, we experience life, and not the unrealistic teenage fantasy life we once dreamed of, but the reality. We make friends, lose friends, fight, bicker, people die unfairly or too early, life just happens. It’s not the way we planned it. We wake up one day and think, “What the hell happened?!”
My dear readers, life happened and there is no rule book, even though subconsciously we think there is and we are pretty sure ‘Life’ is cheating, not just a little but a lot. He took more than his 200 bucks when he passed GO.
There is good in the world, and good people too. I’ll let the shock wear off, I know, it’s a radical statement. Don’t get me wrong, people are rotten, including myself, but it’s our ability to rise above who we ‘could’ be that makes us good. It’s not this pure idea of a virgin in white who always thinks of others and forsakes herself. Goodness, I find, is found most prevalent in those who lives are completely wrecked in one way or another. At the risk of sounding like a Sunday morning preacher, we are all cracked pots with cracked pot ideas and the thought to take care of ourselves not just first but to hold ourselves higher than anyone else. Most times, our motives are not “pure”. They serve us in some way or another. But in all that rubble, goodness lies waiting to be used. We have to choose it.
I grew up in a different kind of environment. My dad was a Vietnam vet, who saw more of his fair share of shit. Not only that, he did his fair share of shit. My Grandma said that the boy who went to war never came back. My dad returned home but he returned a very changed person. I know so many of the war stories, mostly the good times, what few there were and even those were edited . He was a drunkard and drug addict at one point and he suffered heavily from PTSD.
What saved my dad was his faith in God, my moms unconditional love, his own CHOICE to bring forward the good aspects and his own compassion for people who were outcasts like he was. He thought a different way, his methods and approach on life weren’t ‘normal’.
Growing up we always had ‘Hobo’s’ in our home. They would be these rough and scraggily men and he’d invite them over for dinner. They’d show up and eat and visit, they were always polite and respectful, but yet they were people no one else would have given a second look at. My dad saw the beauty in them. Likewise, when we moved to New Orleans, this hospitality continued and we had musicians, artists, “gutter-punks”, prostitutes, strippers, clowns and anybody in between in our 2 bedroom apartment for one on one meals as well as community meals. My dad loved people, he had a way of talking to them. He never pushed his religion on them, his goal was to love that person and show them kindness and offer a listening ear, perhaps maybe give people what he was denied those years in Vietnam and when he came home and no one wanted the Vets around. He had the ability to draw out a person’s potential and hold it in front of their face. He saw the beauty in everyone.
His life experiences, marked with bad choices and unfortunate events but also amazing love and hard work, are what I believe deepened his own love for people and made him a person people wanted to be around. He chose to walk a different path. he chose to pull himself up. He lived by the motto of “Come let us reason together”, a passage of scripture that he lived out. He created a common ground for everyone to stand on, with no harsh judgments or agenda. He wanted to talk with everyone and discuss life and let people discuss their life with him. I don’t believe he ever saw how important his listening ears were to people. He chose to take hold of the good and let it carry him wherever it went, even though he himself never felt like he was doing much of anything for anyone. That’s a lesson in itself. Most of us want instant satisfaction, we want to see the product of all our hard work and often when we don’t, we give up, at least for a time. My dad didn’t. He kept moving even when he felt beat.
It is through my dad’s example and proof of life, that I believe there is much good to be found. It’s convenient to see the negative, it’s easy to do in todays all to publicized society. Despite what Yahoo News, NPR, FOX news etc., may tell us, there is still good to be found.The more you look, the more you’ll find. It is something to hold onto when the world seems dark . You will find it in places you wouldn’t have suspected if you just stop and choose to see, look beyond your opinions and yourself and search for it.