Dear reader, take heart. All is not lost. There is still kindness and decency in this world. Despite all our divisiveness and infighting and moral decay, the milk of human kindness still flows. The story below is a true one. The good deed was done by a friend of my husband’s, who gave me permission to share it with you, as long as he remained anonymous. The picture is not of the actual dog in question.
It’s important to share the good news, to remind us that now is not the time to abandon all hope. Love still wins. It’s still here.
For all of you out there who spread goodness in ways big and small, thank you.
I bought a dog today. I was taking the feral kitten we caught to the shelter today and there was an old man there trying to pick up his dog. He explained that he had been in the hospital and that his dog was there. He wanted to take it home. They explained to him that it had been there for a while and it was up for adoption. He said he just wanted to take him home. She said he would have to pay the adoption fee and expenses. She told him the cost and he said he couldn’t afford it. I bought a dog today.
A former coworker once told me that she wasn’t going to tell anyone her retirement date until the last minute because she “wouldn’t give them the satisfaction.”
My first thought was, “therein lies your problem.”
She knew she wasn’t liked. She knew people would be thrilled to see her go. (Heaven knows, I’d be first in line to do a happy dance.) But what she failed to realize is that it was her very instinct to withhold satisfaction from people that caused much of the animosity.
She never acknowledged a job well done. In fact, she would be the first to criticize. She never did a thing to boost morale. In fact, she was the most soul-sucking individual I’ve had the misfortune to know. She never encouraged independent thought or unique ideas. She was the poster child for micromanagement. Not only did she not give satisfaction, but she made our lives a living hell every chance she got.
I’ve never in my life been so happy to see the back of someone.
Of course, every situation is different. Sometimes resentment is justified. But I suggest that if you’re really bitter, and don’t want to give someone the satisfaction, you might want to make sure that you aren’t the apex predator in this little manhunt of yours. If people are horrible and you have no control over that, that’s one thing. But if people are horrible because you yourself are petty and impossible to deal with, that’s another thing entirely.
Decency and respect is a two way street. You have total control over how you drive on that street. Are you making people want to swerve to avoid you? It’s important to drive defensively, but it’s even more important to stay in your lane.
One of the most unexpected perks about getting married is that I’ve acquired a whole lot of new amazing family members. One of my favorites, Jenna, recently posted something on her Facebook page that moved me so much that I had to share it with all of you.
“Took the kiddos to a busy park today and watched a mom lose her temper at her kiddo…in a loud yelling, arm yanking kind of way. Another mom walked up to her, put her hand in hers and said, “Hey, we’ve all been here.” Then the super young mama went from red-faced anger to tears. They hugged, and then another mom joined, and another, then a dad joined them, and another, then there were like 10 parents, in a group hug around her. I cried from the sidelines trying to keep a close eye on my little ones, but It was astonishing to see the diversity of parents show their compassion, rather than judgement. We need to rally around our vulnerable parents. Lift them up, and give them strength. This kid raisin’ business is hard. #bekind#ilovemycommunity#tucsonkindness”
I’m not one to fill my blog with Facebookishness, but this really hit me in the heart place. In a time when we’re all feeling so polarized and divided and downright depressed, this kind of behavior gives me hope. It is still possible to love thy neighbor. We can support each other. Si se puede. We can be a force for good.
Just sit with that for a while. Let it sink in. Let it be your thought for the day. Namaste.
Recently, I was talking to someone I hadn’t talked to in ages. She is the cousin of a dear friend. She lives here in the Seattle area. When I was moving 3100 miles, I was really stressed out about my housing situation, because I was bringing my two dogs and all my stuff with me, so if I didn’t have a house lined up before I got here, I’d have been in a real fix. I couldn’t afford to fly out in advance and set this all up, so I had no idea what I was going to do.
I did find a house on line, and my friend called his cousin, and, without knowing me at all, she took the time out of her busy schedule to go and check out the house for me and take pictures, so I was comfortable enough to put down a deposit sight unseen. I couldn’t have done it without her. The whole relocation thing would have crumbled like a house of cards.
That means that all that came afterwards, my great job, my financial security for the first time in my life, my husband, my happiness… none of that would have happened were it not for her kindness to a stranger. Needless to say, I thanked her profusely. But I’m sure she doesn’t get what a significant thing that was for me.
If you look at the big picture, our entire existence can be attributed in some way to the kindness of others. I’ve had so many people throughout my life who have given me a leg up. Scholarships. Crowdfunding. Letters of recommendation. Most of the clothing I’ve worn throughout my life has been from thrift stores, made affordable only through donations by others. Most of the furniture I’ve owned has come from the side of the road. People have given me advice. Others have stood between me and violence. Untold numbers have helped me find my way when I was lost.
We all walk upon a web of good deeds that is so densely woven that it has become a tapestry. I feel certain that much of the goodness is behind the scenes. We are able to stand tall for reasons unknown and often unappreciated. This decency forms the very fabric of society.
Even in these times of great division and conflict, I genuinely believe that most of us are fundamentally good. It’s important to remember that. It’s important to appreciate it, and never forget its value.
So, thanks again Sarah, and thanks to all the others who have come before you in my life, and all the ones who will surely come after you.
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With increasing frequency, I’m compelled to avoid the news altogether. It all seems so bleak, so dire, so incomprehensible, so stressful. I can only take so much. I’m sometimes forced to give myself the day off just to maintain my own sanity.
Eventually, I have to stick my head back into that toxic waterfall, though. It’s not a good idea to be uninformed in this day and age. Much better to know when it’s time to duck and cover, or whip out one’s passport.
But the whole journalistic philosophy of “If it bleeds, it leads!” Means that the good news (which is also legitimate news, lest we forget), often gets buried. It’s easy to overlook that there’s decency in the world if you rely only on the major news outlets.
That’s why I’m really happy that a friend of mine turned me on to the Good News Network. It’s a tonic. It reminds me that not everything is death, destruction, corruption and crime.
And guess what. It isn’t all stories of puppies and kittens. (Well, yeah, there is a fair amount of that, but there’s other content, too.) On the day of this writing, some of the headlines were:
World’s Second Largest Coral Reef Has Just Been Removed From Endangered List
Bank Restores Stolen Funds to Oldest Living US Veteran After Identity Theft
Turkey Announces They Are Setting Aside a Ton of Money to Make Cancer Treatments Free
Sweden to Reach Its 2030 Renewable Energy Goal This Year!
Scientists Capture First Ever Confirmed Image of a Planet Being Born
Fishermen Save Starving Fox That Was Stranded on an Iceberg at Sea
When Pizza Driver Gets into Accident, Firefighters Deliver the Hot Pizza Themselves
Don’t you feel better already? I know I do. Maybe if more of us visit this website, the mainstream media will get the hint that we need a little more balance on this emotional rollercoaster of ours. So check it out.
As strange as it may seem, it took me years to figure out that I should only surround myself with kind, loving, and decent people. No one ever told me that. I think deep down, had the concept even occurred to the younger me, I wouldn’t have really believed I deserved it.
So I wasted a lot of time desperately trying to gain approval from people who were way too busy pumping toxic waste into my life to ever grant said approval. What a shame.
But slowly, ever so slowly, the number of amazing humans in my world started to outnumber the bad apples. That made that rotten fruit seem increasingly unpalatable to me. I’ve come to realize that it’s okay to expect quality in all my relationships. What a notion.
It’s so wonderful to know so many outstanding people now. It’s a gift. It’s priceless. Sometimes it brings tears of joy to my eyes.
But recently I’ve come to see what it would have been like if I had kept my emotional garden free of weeds and decay all along. My boyfriend seems to have done an excellent job of doing so, and the results have been profoundly positive. There is so much good in his world. It’s one of the many things I admire about him. He is a lodestone for kindness.
Recently we announced our engagement, and the outpouring of love and support has been overwhelming. In the best possible way. This is all new to me. I keep telling him I feel like I’m being love bombed. He reassures me that I’m not joining a cult. Receiving this kind of encouragement is just as it should be.
Well, alrighty then! I’ll take it. Please and thank you!
In case no one ever told you, dear reader: Look for the good in the world. Accept nothing less. You’ll be amazed at how much it multiplies. Proof positive that love conquers all.
I firmly believe in self-expression. I think every adult human should have a right to dress however he or she pleases. I just wish more people would put some thought into exactly how they express themselves.
I’m not referring to that annoying habit that some men have of wearing sandals with knee socks. (I think that looks absurd, but your fashion rights should extend to bad taste as well.) I don’t mean wearing colors that obviously clash or make you look like bozo the clown. (Again, your option.)
I’m talking about when your clothes send an ugly message about what you think about yourself and the wider world.
For example, in this day and age, you can order a t-shirt that says absolutely anything. There are customized print on demand companies that can take your self-expression to the next level. But just because you can wear something doesn’t necessarily mean you should.
For example, the t-shirts above definitely send a strong message, but it might not be the one the wearer intends.
I don’t care about other people’s feelings.
I’m an idiot.
I enjoy upsetting people.
I have a really warped worldview.
I don’t see how wearing a shirt like this benefits anyone, including the wearer. It makes no sense.
And then there are these jeans, which apparently are quite popular at the moment.
Here’s the thing. Most women like to put their best foot forward. At least that has been my experience. So if you want to wear jeans like these, I assume that you think your most redeeming quality is your body. And there’s nothing wrong with being proud of your body. I vaguely remember what that’s like. But these jeans (or the lack thereof) say to the wider world that your sexuality is your primary selling point. It would be much classier, in my opinion, to walk down the street naked.
Hyper-sexual clothing makes me very sad. I know a lot of amazing women, and what makes them amazing is not their physical form. It’s who they are. It’s their intelligence. It’s their kindness. It’s their abilities. I bet the model above is a very nice person, but I’m quite sure most people who look at that photo aren’t having that thought.
If you are wanting to draw people to you with your self-expression, you might want to ask yourself what kind of people you will draw to you if you’re wearing these jeans or those t-shirts. First of all, you’re going to intimidate a lot of really amazing individuals. You’ll disgust and repel others. And the ones you attract with those jeans, especially, will not be interested in who you are inside. None of these garments say, “Take me seriously.”
I’m not suggesting that women should cover themselves from head to toe, revealing only their eyes. (Unless, of course, they wish to do so, in which case more power to them.) I’m not saying that no one should voice their opinions. And I’m definitely not telling you to be ashamed of your own body.
I’m merely saying that showing the world that you have dignity and respect, especially self-respect, and inviting them to learn more about you through civil conversation will be, in the long run, a great deal more appealing to those who will be most likely to treat you decently.
And when all is said and done in this insane world of ours, decency is what we all deserve.
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I absolutely love buffets, so I try to avoid them. I am frugal by nature, so when I’m charged a fixed price in an all you can eat situation, I tend to try to get my money’s worth. In other words, I gorge myself. I don’t think I’ve ever left a buffet without feeling slightly sick to my stomach and at least moderately ashamed.
Abundance is not something I’ve experienced very often in my life, so it’s not surprising that I tend to overdo. It brings out the worst in me. I can’t imagine who I’d be if I lived in a constant state of abundance. I suspect that this is why the super rich are, for the most part, despicable human beings. If they exhibit even a shred of decency, they’ve no doubt had to work extremely hard to maintain it.
When you have to work for what you need, you appreciate it much more. When you aren’t completely sure you’ll get what you want, it inspires you to strive toward your goals. Achievements are so much sweeter when you’ve actually had to achieve them.
It’s the struggle that defines us. I don’t think pride is such a bad thing when you’ve seen a hurdle and have managed to clamber over it. Yay, you! Victories are all the more delicious for having been hard-won.
I have much more respect for those who try and don’t always succeed than I do for those who have had everything in their lives handed to them on a platinum patter. For most of us, life is not a buffet. But there’s a certain dignity to being figuratively lean and hungry, all while maintaining your integrity.
I think unconditional love is an absurd construct. Even my dog has his limits. If I stopped feeding him or started torturing him, how much do you think he would love me then?
While it’s comforting to think that there is love that you can count on, I believe that the responsibility for maintaining that bond goes both ways. Frankly, I’d find it rather creepy if someone loved me so unconditionally that I could become a monster and that person would be okay with that. I do not want someone loving me even if I decide to be a serial killer. I expect to be held accountable for my actions.
I was once in a 16-year relationship with someone who enjoyed saying, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” I knew he was attempting to be reassuring, but in truth that always made me inwardly shudder. I don’t want blind adoration. I actually kind of feel better when there are well-defined boundaries. When I know where I stand, I can do so with confidence. That, and there’s a great deal of pressure to maintain your center of decency when, literally, anything goes. (I admit I didn’t handle it well.)
Parents are expected to love their children unconditionally. I can’t really speak from experience, as I chose not to have kids, but I suspect that “unconditional” condition is the very source of a great deal of dysfunction. If “unconditional” were taken off the table, more parents would be invested in instilling values in their children that would encourage them to be decent human beings, because it’s safe to assume that most parents really do want to love their children.
If we stopped looking at love as if it were a possession, as if, once obtained, you get to keep it, a lot of things would change. If people genuinely believed that one must be loving and lovable in order to receive love, this would be a kinder, gentler planet. If we knew that love must be earned, fewer people would remain with their abusers. If we set the bar ever-so-slightly higher when choosing a mate, it would make for much healthier family units. And if we looked at love as something that must constantly be nurtured in order to thrive, we wouldn’t be so shocked and devastated when it withers on the vine due to our own neglect.
It might also allow us to exercise critical thinking. This whole blind loyalty thing that is becoming the cultural norm is actually rather terrifying. If you vote for someone whose behavior becomes more despicable over time, your FIRST instinct should be a withdrawal of political love for that person. Your standards should be high, and your tolerance for outrage should be short-lived. Our leaders should be kept in check, as their powers allow for rather more destruction than most of us can endure.
So, dear reader, be loving. Be kind. And remember that it’s okay to set boundaries.
I had never heard of John Feeley until this week. Now I’d like to shake his hand. It’s refreshing to hear of someone in the public sector who actually has integrity.
Mr. Feeley is resigning as the US Ambassador to Panama, effective March 9th, because he doesn’t feel he can impartially serve President Trump any longer. A lesser man would have just kept his head down and continued to draw a paycheck. (“Just following orders…”) But not this guy. He took a stand. He decided to do the right thing rather than the easy thing or the self-serving thing, and I’m sure it is going to have a long-lasting impact on his life.
I wish more public servants were like this. I wish no one in congress would show up for the State of the Union address. That would send a strong message to the world that we don’t agree that other countries are shitholes. We don’t agree that it’s okay to grab women. This is not who we are.
When the world asks who we are, I want to tell them that we are John Feeley, and also Walter Shaub, who resigned as the Office of Government Ethics chief last year. I want to tell them that we are every American who marched against Trump and his destructive, hateful policies. I want to tell them that we are every reporter who has brought us the truth in the face of all Trumps threats and lies.
I hope that when the next president is elected, if he or she isn’t another total nut job, the first official act will be to re-hire Feeley and Shaub. We need people with integrity serving the public. We need to demonstrate that ethics still matter in this country.
Thank you, gentlemen, for restoring my faith in human decency at a time when examples of this are awfully thin on the ground.