Good News and Kindness

My friend Nichola and I cut a deal earlier this week. Every day through the new year we will each find a positive news story and share it with the other on Facebook.

This is an important exercise for a couple of reasons. Facebook is cluttered with bad news and bickering. Right now it’s how I learn about illness and death in my own community. For the last few years I have gained insight into the hearts and minds of neighbors who I never dreamed could be so cruel. It’s not an especially pleasant place some days.

By exchanging happy stories we are brightening each other’s day but also maybe giving someone else something happy to consider. More importantly, we are actively retraining our brains to look for happy, uplifting news. If you’re looking for a white car, you’ll only see white cars. If you’re only looking for good news, that’s what you’ll see and what you’ll seek.

People like to blame the media for a lot of things that are wrong in the world. As consumers we must also take some responsibility for all the negativity. Sadly, news agencies are just looking for clicks like everyone else. There’s a reason why all the headlines are negative. It’s not that nothing good ever happens. It’s that people tend to click the negative headlines more than the good ones.

In other words, if you want to see more good news, you better start supporting good news on the internet.

Finding good news has been hard. So far, my choices have included Madix the cat who was found nine days after he was thought dead in the Kentucky tornados. Then there was a feature story on a wealthy business man who plays Secret Santa every Christmas. CBS has chronicled his kindness every year, honoring his desire to remain anonymous as he gives away $30,000 to strangers in increments of $100.

A favorite from Nichola was about a man who ran Christmas lights from his home to that of a neighbor who was struggling. He wanted her to know they are still connected despite the isolation caused by the pandemic. Pretty soon the entire neighborhood got involved and lights began to connect homes up and down several streets.

The good stuff is out there. You just have to go looking for it.

Speaking of looking for things, I nearly missed out on something great in real life yesterday. I was out running errands and was driving when I noticed a red piece of paper threatening to blow off the corner of my windshield. Someone had left a red envelope on my red car and I completely missed it.

The envelope contained an unsigned Christmas card with a $5 Walmart gift card.

It made my day.

It’s wonderful how a small gesture can completely turn your day around. I have no idea who left it or how many others my Secret Santa gifted yesterday but I’m grateful.

I’m also a little disappointed in myself. Had I been thinking, I would have left this gift on someone else’s vehicle. Receiving was wonderful but giving would have felt even better.

How nice would the world be if we all could make an effort each day to spread whatever goodness we can afford in whatever way we can manage.

Happy Christmas Eve, my friends.