Some Good News For A Change


I'm getting weary of bad news.  

I'm also weary of how much bad news there is lately.  

When you peruse the headlines and significant stories that are making the rounds every day, it's easy to recall the wisdom of Don Henley from his 1980s hit "Dirty Laundry:" 

We got the bubble-headed bleached-blonde, 
comes on at five
She can tell you 'bout the plane crash with a gleam in her eye
It's interesting when people die
Give us dirty laundry

And then there is the fake outrage that permeates the cable news channels as people square off in their little boxes on the TV screen, shouting over one another, ratcheting up the rhetoric, and doing their dead-level best to retain viewers by ensuring them they have a right to be anxious and outraged over one damn thing or another. 

The problem is if all you are getting is a steady diet of phony outrage, manipulated facts, and deeply partisan politics, you can rightly assume that the world is going to hell and a handbasket. 

This is why I want to share something different--a story about one person's kindness to a little boy.   

The other day, the following news story caught my attention: 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) bus driver went above and beyond to put a smile on the face of a heartbroken little boy.

Larry Farrish Jr. was driving Levi, a first grader, to Engelhard Elementary School when he noticed his drastic behavioral change.

The usual happy boy was sad and tearfully told Farrish he didn't have pajamas for Pajama Day at school.

That's when Farrish jumped into action. After finishing the route, Farrish bought two pairs of pajamas and brought them to the school for Levi to keep.

Think about the stereotypical image of a school bus driver, or you can recall a school bus driver from your past that fits that bill.  You know what I'm talking about. The surly, grumpy, scowling, barking orders kind of bus driver.  

But like most things in life, our stereotypes are typically about the minority, not the majority; we just apply them to the majority without critique. 

Larry Farrish, Jr. obviously saw himself as more than just a guy who drove kids to school.  He was the first contact for kids who were beginning their school day.  He paid attention to them.  He knew them and cared about them. 

This is why he could quickly see that something was wrong with Levi.  And his heart went out to the little boy, who faced a day of being asked and maybe teased about why he didn't wear pajamas on Pajama Day. 

Farrish didn't try to placate Levi or tell him to "buck up, little camper," he took action and did something that I have no doubt will have a lasting impact on the little boy.  

And there's also a lesson for the school that was learned.  In some places, the assumption that every kid will have pajamas is a foregone conclusion, but it can't be in others.  

For those of us who want to follow Jesus, this story teaches us just how important it is to stay awake and aware of the needs of the people around us.  

It also teaches us that we ought to think of how some of the systems we employ in our culture can leave some folks on the outside looking in, but we can do something about that, too... one life, one heart at a time. 

May we all have eyes to see the brokenhearted and marginalized souls around us and do what we can to show them they matter.  May we all have the wisdom to follow our hearts when our hearts tell us to act. 

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us now and always. Amen. 


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