Saturday, December 15, 2012

Leaning Toward the Sunshine

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In the past two days I've spent more time reading online news stories than I have since September 11th. The stories about the massacre in Connecticut made me cry. Full on runny nose, swollen eyes, tears raining down on the keyboard crying. Maybe it's because I have young children who attend elementary school and are thus equally vulnerable, out of my reach for large blocks of time each week. Or maybe it's because I'm gazing into the future and wincing at what these children will have to face, the invisible dangers that leave all parents feeling helpless and frightened. Or maybe it doesn't even matter that I am a parent because I am a person, and to see so many innocent lives whisked away by one dark soul feels absurd. How can someone so evil have so much power over us? While I still believe the good in the world outweighs the bad, the online portrait of our world remains...kind of depressing.

Last week I noticed several times how the internet and facebook are clogged with angry soapboxes. I see people taking a stand all over the place against what is unfair. I'm not usually a devoted internet or facebook surfer, but I got sucked into reading a bunch of posts on a controversial topic last week and after about forty-five minutes I wanted to clean my brain out with a jumbo sized Q-tip and some bleach. Of course everyone has an argument and most people are capable of making pretty good points, but is all the blither blather necessary? Where are all the doers? By the time I closed my browser I was in desperate need of some sunshine. 

And then I stumbled across an article written by a young mother who recently brought Christmas to a family in need. She and her children decided on their own accord to spend an entire day buying and wrapping gifts, and the great thing about the article was that it wasn't part of anyone's "help the needy" program. They know the family, they know their situation is financially bleak this Christmas, and so they acted accordingly. I read and re-read the article multiple times because compared to everything else out there, it radiated goodness. It  reminded me that there are everyday Joes out there who are more interested in doing than complaining. They are more interested in quietly, anonymously going about improving the world instead of critiquing it. 

Something in me started to thaw after I read that article, to the point that my mood noticeably improved and every part of me perked up, the wag returned to the tail. The terribleness of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary school won't be forgotten, and like many of you I suspect those twenty little children will linger in the back of my thoughts for a long time. But the other controversies, the online blither blather has been pushed to the sides.  Angry talk doesn't matter, and I'm back to focusing on what does.

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