What Have You Learned About People Today?

The spring of 2012 was a very tumultuous time in my office. Despite our efforts to do good in the community, we seemed to be under attack from all sides. I would come home from work every night with little desire to do anything but sleep. It’s like the wind had been taken out of my sails. My once positive and sunny disposition was draining and it was affecting my relationships. During that time, my dad would ask me, “What have you learned about people today?” And it consistently surprised me that my answer to that question was always mixed. On one hand, I was learning that some people had an unnerving capacity to cause so much damage and harm to another individual or group of people. But on the other hand, I was being reminded daily that the human spirit is resilient, and when given the right opportunities, some people have an amazing ability to survive against all odds. It was also around this time that I heard the song Farther Along by Josh Garrels. The following lyrics have haunted me ever since: “I wonder why the good man dies, the bad man thrives, and Jesus cries because He loves them both. We’re all castaways in need of rope.” This tiny phrase has challenged my entire way of thinking.

A lot has changed since then. Some of my coworkers have moved on to greener pastures and the people in my office now are an amazing group committed to making a positive change in Jefferson County. We still face opposition, but we are supported and empowered by a greater good. A story showed up in my Timehop recently that reminded me of my (somewhat) restored faith in humanity. Last year my dad and sister were having their weekly breakfast at Bob Evans. They were talking about her surgery that was coming up and she was telling him that she was nervous and a little scared while he was providing comfort. A couple at a nearby table overheard the conversation. Without a word, they left the restaurant and returned 10 minutes later with balloons and a singing duck for my sister. The wife turned out to be a nurse in Kentucky and took a special liking to Emily. They told her not to be nervous and that they would be thinking about her the next morning.

This story gives me hope that the whole human race is not lost. Sometimes I can get so caught up and surrounded by the negative that it casts a shadow on my entire worldview. The world is such a sad and desolate place when you only focus on the negative. I truly believe that a shift in thinking can make all the difference in moving from dark to light. I think we do ourselves a disservice when we ask the question “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Bad things happen to all people. But good things happen to all people too. It’s how we respond – what do we intend to do as a result of our negative situation?

I choose to believe that people are good. I cling to the glimmer of hope that another world is possible and we can bring about positive change if we all work together, despite our differences. I am confident that in the end common sense and justice will prevail. Call me an optimist, but I believe that if you wait to the end of the story, you get to see the good people live happily ever after. And maybe that’s because they choose to focus on the sunshine instead of the rain.

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