Back to blogging with my three co-bloggers! Each week, one of us chooses a topic and we all post a blog entry on that topic, usually on Thursdays. (Usually we are on time. Usually. Ok, mostly. Sometimes? Don’t judge me.)
Here are the links to the other fabulous blogs:
Merryland Girl chose this week, and she asked: Tell Us Something Good. It can be about good things that happened in your life or good things you’ve heard about online, from people close to you, etc. Anything goes! Here’s my take:
I’m often guilty of focusing on the negative and not the “happy.” And lately, I feel like there’s been a spate of bad news: people getting sick, people dying, people shooting people, etc. It is so easy to focus on those horrible things, to feel overwhelmed by the unhappy. It’s tempting to just give in and give up.
But then I noticed something. I began to see a trend where, when something bad happens, something good follows. A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about Daniel Fleetwood, a young Texan who was diagnosed with a rare, fatal cancer and whose dying wish was to see the new Star Wars movie before its release – because Daniel knew he wouldn’t live to see the opening day. Daniel got his wish, and he died a few days later. But the campaign that bears his name – #ForceforDaniel – has not died. Amazing things happened while Daniel was alive, and they have continued now that he is no longer with us. People have continued to raise money for his young widow, Ashley. Moved by Daniel’s story, an artist created a painting of Daniel, which was then turned into t-shirts and posters. Others are printing out small versions of that painting with the tag #saveaseatforDaniel, and they are taking they picture with them to Star Wars showing across the globe; Peter Mayhew, who plays Chewbacca, took the print to the Star Wars premiere. A scholarship is in the works. The outpouring of love for Daniel and his wife and his family is amazing. It fills my heart. It makes me happy, even though the underlying inspiration was, at its roots, quite unhappy.
Similarly, I recently read about a young California man who was killed in an accident mere days after he did a random act of kindness for a total stranger, paying for her food at a grocery store when she herself could not. When the woman went to find Matthew to repay him, she learned of his tragic passing. The woman decided to pay Matthew’s kindness forward, and Matthew’s Legacy was born. If you like the Facebook page of the same name, you can read almost daily stories of people who randomly do good deeds for others, or who have been on the receiving end of such gifts. I can’t read these without tearing up, but in a good way. I love these stories. I want more of these stories. They truly make me feel good.
Just this week, I shared on Facebook a story of a little girl who is hospitalized atUCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. Lexi Brown posted a sign in her hospital window saying that she wanted a pizza. Well, Lexi’s room faces one of the tony frat houses across the road, and a few of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon frat brothers saw her written request. A handful of the brothers went out and bought Lexi a pizza. They brought the food to her room, along with balloons and a guitar, and they proceeded to serenade her. Lexi told them she likes soccer, so they told their soccer-playing frat brothers, who showed up with t-shirts. They spent time with Lexi, passed along positive energy. And then, as if they hadn’t enough, those young men DECORATED THEIR FRAT HOUSE with a message to Lexi, one she could easily see from her hospital bed. I cried when I saw the photos. The frat brothers’ acts of kindness gave me hope: hope for today, in a world that so often seems overwhelming and unkind; and hope for tomorrow, for a generation I don’t always understand, but which seems filled with empathy and good.
I love these stories. I love when someone goes out of his way to brighten someone else’s day. Sometimes just a little goes a long way. When we moved to the South, I noticed that women often compliment each other. “I love your shirt,” one might say, or, “Pretty earrings!” At first, I found it unsettling. I mean, I liked receiving the compliments, I just wasn’t used to it. Now, I try to do it myself. I have seen the way another person’s face lights up when I just say something nice to them. “I like your hair!” can make someone’s whole day. Trust me.
I was in Target a few weeks ago, just about noon, and I came up behind a woman who had a toddler in her cart. A tired, hungry toddler, who began to whine out of protest. The woman became visibly nervous; she was clearly concerned that her child was disturbing me or other shoppers. She maneuvered her cart toward an empty aisle so she could dig out a snack to appease her child while she hurried to finish shopping. I walked past and smiled at her. She smiled back, a look of relief washing over her face. She was clearly relieved that her child did not bother me, that I understood, or at the very least didn’t mind. I looked at the little girl and said, “You can’t cry! You’re too cute to cry!” The mom laughed and the baby stopped, just for a moment. I walked on, happy I could even slightly ease these woman’s already frazzled nerves. It took so little – virtually nothing.
The Internet – hell, the world – is full of so much stress, so much negative. These stories provide a nice balance. I hope we can create even more good out of all of the seemingly endless bad. So, now I would love to hear your stories, stories about little kindnesses you have given or received, little things you have read about or heard about or followed online. These small moments of happiness are worth so much, and these tales fill my soul in a way that no material gift ever could.
So, live on #ForceforDaniel, live on #MatthewsLegacy, live on Lexi Brown and the Sigma Alpha Epsilon brothers. I send you my love and my energy, and I thank you for the gifts you’ve given me, without even trying.