If you know me at all, then you know I don't like to dwell on negative things. I've been often accused of living in a world full of rainbows and bubbles. I'm an eternal optimist, and I don't like to think that there might be people in this world who could or would ever intentionally hurt someone else.
On days like today, when the whole Internet is exploding with reactions to the tragic shootings in Aurora, Colorado, it's not so easy to see the rainbows, and the bubbles pop far too easily.
On days like today, my natural smile fades, and I start to wonder if people aren't as good as I like to believe.
On days like today, I sometimes need to take a moment to refocus my filter - to look through the lens of all the goodness that's everywhere around me, so I'm not discouraged by the tragedy. So, this post will not be about what I'm feeling in reaction to today's news. Instead, I want to take a moment and remember that most people really are trying to make this world a better place for everyone in it.
My mother told me about her recent trip to help two of my sisters. First, she stopped in Utah to help out my youngest sister, who is struggling with a very difficult pregnancy and having trouble keeping up with her very active little girls. Mom cleaned the kitchen and caught up on the laundry - all of the little things that mean so much but seem so impossible when you're sick.
When she got to the airport to fly out to my other sister's house, Mom discovered that, due to a miscommunication and a few wrong clicks online, she had missed her flight. The lady at the check-in counter was super helpful and managed to book Mom on the flight she thought she was scheduled for. But by the time the ticket was changed and bags checked, Mom had only 10 minutes to get to the gate - and the line for security was LONG! Mom said she was on the phone with my dad as she ran to the security check, and when she saw the line, she nearly cried. She explained to him that she was going to miss her flight after all.
But then, a minor miracle occurred. Someone in the line overheard her conversation. He let her go ahead of him. And then another person did the same. And another. And another. The crowds of people waiting in line to get through security (many of whom, I'm sure, were in a hurry to get to their own flights) stepped aside and let my mom pass through to the front of the line.
And she made her flight on time.
Because people are basically pretty wonderful, and when given the opportunity, most people will choose to do the kind thing. Most people want a chance to serve their fellow men. Most people would be quite happy in my little world of rainbows and bubbles.
A little closer to home, I also experienced a minor miracle yesterday.
Yesterday was extremely stressful for me. Trying to pack and sort and pare down in preparation for a cross-country move that's coming at me far too quickly, I was overwhelmed and afraid that I'd never be able to do it all on time. My well-meaning friends and family members, who tried to help me by pointing out all of the things I wasn't doing right... didn't help. By late afternoon, I collapsed in tears and gave up. I decided I'd never get it all done, and I'd have to pay extra fees for going over our military moving weight limit. And I'd probably not be able to find a renter for my house, and so I should expect to quickly drain my savings and watch my home go into foreclosure, ruining my credit and losing my house in the process. And I wouldn't have any time to see any of my friends to say goodbye before we move, and so they'd probably all be angry with me and never speak to me again. And I didn't even know what to make for dinner!
But then, I realized: one of my friends had offered to make dinner for us. I didn't have to worry about that!
The love involved in that one small act of service was enough to stop my downward spiral of fear and worry. And when I started to look at things a little bit more clearly, I realized that nothing was as bad as I feared. I've made a lot of progress on my moving to-do list. I'll be able to finish on time. And I have over a week between the day the movers come to pack up our things and the day we leave Maryland. Over a week where my only commitments will be saying goodbye to friends here (and a little bit of painting and touch-ups on the house to get it ready for renting).
I can do this.
All it took was one small act of service from a friend who didn't even know how much I needed it.
So today, as I'm struggling with sorrow and despair over the news coming out of Colorado, I've decided to look for the good. To focus once again on the rainbows and bubbles - the beauty of the world that still shines, even in the midst of great tragedy. And I'll look for something that I can do to pass those rainbows forward. Because love is the greatest power on Earth, and it can heal the deepest hurts.
What about you? How will you show love today? How have others shown love to you?