Neighbors helping neighbors at a recent gathering.
Neighbors helping neighbors at a recent gathering.

All one has to do is pick up the newspaper or turn on the news on television or internet to see the baseness of mankind. Wars, murder and mayhem, cheating, stealing, bullying, sexual crimes, the list could go on. It really doesn’t matter if you read your Bible, a newspaper from the 1800s or yesterday’s or today’s news, it’s all there, man’s inhumanity to man. That makes headlines.

But underneath it all, sometimes hidden, but always pulsing and alive is our love and respect for our neighbor and our fellow wanderers through life. It’s too bad it’s not focused on more than it is.

The “good news” stories fill our hearts and minds with wonder, inspiration and affection for mankind. Doing acts of kindness and showing love for others makes our lives fulfilling and worthwhile. Locally that generosity has always been alive and well. Even our local newspaper carries such good news especially in the “Thumbs Up” section that often focuses on the work of volunteers or the kindness of strangers and neighbors.

In our community if someone has a death in the family, a serious illness or other life-changing event, neighbors and friends help pick up the pieces and give in any way they can. It may be a simple casserole or cake delivered to the home of those grieving the loss of a loved one or undergoing surgery or illness. It may be a phone call that says, “I’m thinking of you.” Whatever the method, it rarely makes the news, but it sure makes the recipient and the giver much happier.

A recent surgery for one of our neighbors resulted in just such an event. Neighbors and friends got together to split and stack firewood. Already in the barnyard was a winter’s supply of sectioned wood, it took a good morning of work by more than 20 people, men and women, to cut, split and stack the wood in neat rows. Log splitters, chain saws, skid loaders and tractors and loaders made the barnyard a beehive of activity. Many hands made light the work. After a job well done, a meal was shared by all. Sometimes neighbors have banned together to take off another’s crops when tragedy or illness struck. In years past it was to raise a barn or thresh grain. Neighbor helping neighbor.

Nationally one hears such stories as well. These acts of kindness and generosity can occur even during those horrible bad news stories of war and other mayhem. One such story tells of a young captain from the Wyoming Army National Guard. He had purchased a truck for his wife, one just like her father used to drive. Being a 1959 model, it needed a lot of work and his plan was to work on it with his wife. However before he could get it done he was deployed to Afghanistan. Since he wanted the truck finished, he paid a mechanic $17,000 to fix it up as a surprise gift for her. A month into his deployment he was killed by a roadside bomb. When the mechanic heard of his death he took off with the money without doing anything to the vehicle. When the soldier’s friends realized what had happened they pooled their resources and got the job done, restoring and painting the old truck. A local auto shop donated parts and labor. After they finished it was presented to his widow who felt that it truly honored her husband and his sacrifice.

Another recent story tells of a young man who at one time worked 12-hour days at a desk, but decided to cross the world relying only on the kindness of strangers. He took no food and no money and has met with kindness everywhere. Perhaps one of his most memorable experiences was in Philadelphia, the city of love. After being turned down many times by others, a homeless man offered him shelter in an abandoned garage and shared his food. It’s easy to share out of abundance, but this man shared out of the little he had. That’s inspirational!

We hear of very young children getting involved in a cause by raising money or awareness for tragedies or disasters. One 11 year-old boy from Texas raised $16,000 for victims of a tornado by mowing lawns. Another young boy raised money to purchase better bullet-proof vest protection for his father and other policemen. There are many stories about this type of giving.

Those good news stories are seldom shared over a wide area, but they are there, everywhere we go. The stranger who stops to help someone stranded on the road, a quick prayer for someone facing surgery or death, volunteering to help with the local Bread & Bowl or making donations to the local Food Pantry, are all good news stories that seldom gain recognition. Truthfully most of those who do these good deeds do not want recognition. They know that giving a part of themselves to others is part of living a good life.

Giving of oneself to help another is a basic human need. When one focuses on only one’s self, there is a lack of something in our lives. We need to share more of these good news stories. Sometimes television newscast will focus on them, there are also websites that focus on just good news. News does not have to be about war and other mayhem, it can be anything that is noteworthy. Good news stories are even more than that. Rather than making us sad and uneasy like many stories carried on the news, they make us feel better. It does your heart good to hear of them!