By Joe Rector
All of us might fall into the abyss of depression if we stay tuned to the news these days. Our government seems to find new ways to destroy the fabric of our country and our way of life. Wars go on endlessly and add scores of dead to an already unbelievable number. At one place on the planet, the ice caps melt as seas rise, and in another area, rain forests are being burned in the name of progress, even though the loss of them will choke us to death. Still, by looking hard, we can find plenty of things that prove that we aren’t all bad.
Each and every day, individuals set out to help others. Locally, organizations like KARM and the Salvation Army provide services for those whose lives are struggles. Volunteer Ministry Center has for years worked to provide sustainable and affordable housing for homeless folks. The organization also offers counseling about employment, meals for the hungry, and strategies for making a better life. The work by all of these groups is completed by people who want to help and by donors who realize that their moneys will be well spent.
Sometimes, heroes and their stories reach us. Recently, the news aired a segment on NFL player Kyle Rudolph. His kindness toward a small child helped ease the pain the little boy suffered through during his lifetime. Rudolph visited often, treated the boy to football games and equipment, and best of all, visited during the last hours of the child’s life. Rudolph also funded a special place at the Minnesota Children’s Hospital, an area where sick children and their families could enjoy just a few minutes of normal life. Rudolph used his money to provide good things for folks in need.
Other people devote themselves to animals. Most people love dogs. Our hearts break when we see one being abandoned or abused. Many choose to adopt a canine from a shelter or rescue organization. Such acts give dogs second chances for life and, possibly, first tastes of the love and kindness that humans can give. When stories about saved dogs and their new families air on television, eyes fill with tears as young and old rejoice in the good deeds of fellow humans and the joys that those acts produce.
We also smile at the bonds that are created between animals and humans. The most popular videos often reveal the sweet and simple routines that the evolve as folks and their pets go about daily life. We discover that so many animals need and welcome the warmth of companionship and the assurance from love that come from humans. In those times, our species proves that it has a higher purpose than just looking after ourselves.
Homo sapiens are selfish too often. Still, times arise when folks reach beyond themselves. Just recently, a report explained how a town aimed its efforts toward making a little boy’s life better. Because of a stem cell transplant, he couldn’t leave the confines of his home. So, individuals and groups came to his house to perform, to wave, or to amuse the boy. From singing and dancing troupes to dog parades, the citizens gave their time and energy to make one life a little better.
Yes, too often, we humans do things that make us wonder why we even exist. Our mean, selfish, and greedy acts show our worst sides. However, just when we think there are no saving graces for us, loving acts shock us, make us smile, and recommit us, if only for a short period of time, to be good folks. The truth about all humans is we aren’t all bad. Some good resides in each of us.