All That's Beautiful & Good

The other day, I was listening to a podcast where author and theologian Barbara Brown Taylor was one of the guests.  She said something that resonated with me, and I wanted to share it today. 

The podcast's topic centered on maintaining our humanity when the world seems so out of joint.  As you might imagine, it's difficult, especially with so many things wrong today. 

Taylor said that she stays current on what is happening in the world but also reads the local paper in her little hometown.  

She said she read about how a local teacher had her kindergarten class create care cards for some residents in a local assisted living facility.  And that someone had raised a prize pumpkin. 

Taylor went on to relate how she can read about the terrible news in the world, but if that was the only thing she was reading, then she "wouldn't hear about pumpkins." 

Her story's point was that good and beautiful things are happening in the world around us.  Good people are doing good in our communities, trying to light candles instead of cursing the darkness. 

But it's far too easy for most of us to find ourselves feeling desperate about the state of things because we can, if we are so inclined, get a steady diet of outrage all day long if we want it. 

The interwebs love to send outrage our way.  So does the cable news and almost every other form of news other than the local newspaper telling us about pumpkins and kindergartners making cards. 

As it turns out, we need the news about pumpkins a lot more than the other stuff. 

This is why when we watch a video of someone rescuing kittens on the side of the road or untangling a sea turtle caught in a fishing line, we watch it with tears in our eyes. 

Don't try to act tough.  You know that you do.  

I'm the guy who wept like a baby watching the video of some nerdy girl who sang her guts out on stage and got a golden buzzer from Simon Cowell on America's Got Talent.  

I ugly cried, and I'm not (that) ashamed of it, either. 

The other day, I read this great quote from Agatha Christie, the renowned author of probably hundreds of mystery stories: 

I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable... but through it all I still know quite certainly that just be alive is a grand thing. 

It's hard to imagine someone as successful and amazing as Agatha Christie feeling acutely miserable, yet we get it.  Sometimes, the life-yness of life can be too much for the senses and the soul.  

But still, it is a "grand thing" to be alive and to know that there are other stories out there if we are willing to disconnect from the constant drone of outrage-fueled TV and social media diatribes.  

There are prize pumpkins.  Crayon-scrawled cards are being opened by an elderly woman who needs a smile.  There are people in the world rescuing kittens. 

And there are people like you and me who long for a better world, a kinder world filled with light and love, who have in our power to make it so... one good and beautiful act at a time. 

This is what God longs for us to do and to be.  We are bearers of God's image.  We are light-bringers. And the world needs light now more than ever. 

May it be so, and may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us now and always. Amen.  


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