October 7, 2004
A sign of the times
Usually on the news we hear all of the bad things. Mostly because sensational things are newsworthy. It drives ratings. And I think everyday good things are harder to present in the news. We also hear from one side, that these are the end times, that life is just going to get worse before it gets better. So itís easy to begin to think the world is going to ĎHell in a hand basketí quickly. It can be a troubling idea as we look around and see all of the fighting, terrorism, crime, prejudice and lust. Thatís what we hear about.
But, Iím going to paint a different picture. One of hope right now. If we think about it, for most of us life is not like we see on the news. We have families, we have jobs, we love our children, grandchildren, parents, wives, husbands, we have dreams, we have faith and we go through life just like everyone else. So our view on life just doesnít coincide with the view that the world is getting worse. I think there have been much worse times to live through. Can you imagine what it was like to go through World War Two? Or in some cases, like just 20 some years ago. Recently there has been a lot of news coverage of sexual charges against priests who abused young boys. But when we read the fine print, we see these young boys are now grown up and are just coming out with what happened. But did we feel safer 20 years ago? Horrible things still went on in those times. Much of it was just hidden or swept under the rug.
There has also been an incredible amount of good to go along with the bad though. We just donít hear about it. Like the people who stopped to help me with my bike, or when I was injured. Like the man and his wife who took us in one night when my wife and I were traveling home for Christmas 15 years ago and got stuck in a blizzard. Tonight on the bus I witnessed two great acts of kindness on the bus riding home from the University; a young woman quietly asked a drunk man who had just boarded the bus if he needed money for the bus fare. After he said no, he dug around in his wallet but couldnít find anything. She offered again, and then she just leaned over the isle and put it in his hand. The drunk man paid his fare and then turned to her and asked, ďwhy did you do that? thank you.Ē Then a few stops later an old woman got on the bus and the lady next to me jumped up, stood in the isle and offered her seat to the old woman.
Sure there are problems in our society, but isnít it each of our responsibilities to make our worlds a little better, all around us? These kinds of acts of kindness I see all the time. We can see them if we are looking. Also if we feel the same way, we start to notice others who are practicing what we also believe in. Itís like buying a car. Before we bought the car we hardly saw any of the model we bought on the streets. But after we bought it, we could see them all over. These two kind people are heroes in our modern times, but unlike anyone famous, their greatness may go unrecognized because we are not geared toward recognizing them.
Another sign of the times, we can always think about our world as troubled and messed up, or we can do what these kind people are doing all around us. Give to each other. This kind of thing gives me hope, and are more examples of God working on earth. Have faith and hope that when we pray, ďMay your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.Ē we will see some action. Maybe the action will be the next time we see someone who is in need and feel the urge to do something about it.
Donít live in fear of the times, live in love right now and our world will be a better place.