Last Wednesday a friend on Facebook asked how it is we all “keep a soft heart in this often exhausting world”.
This was Wednesday. Two days before we’d hear anything about the attacks of terror in Paris and the day before suicide bombers killed people in the streets of Beirut.
At the time, on Wednesday, I thought about the red cup brouhaha (which now seems really long ago, doesn’t it?). I thought about the loud mouth politicians who are all trying to out shout and out policy one another into the hearts of Americans (seriously, we still have a full year of this hollering). I thought about how venomous Facebook had become (among some) over the past year or two.
How do you keep a soft heart?
I knew my answer right away.
And today, after the bombings and shootings, my answer is the same. Today, after reading more poison that masks as opinion on social media, my answer is the same. Today, even though fear threatens to hold me in a vice grip, my answer is the same.
I look to those who are doing good in this world. Or, to borrow from Mr. Rogers, “I look at the helpers”.
I look at the box of Wheaties still on my table from breakfast. Stephen Curry’s gracing the cover (he’s a basketball player for the Golden State Warriors). Did you know that for every 3 pointer he makes he donates 3 mosquito nets to be used in third-world countries. And the guy makes A LOT of 3 pointers.
I look at the teacher who starts each class affirming the positive qualities of his students. Oh, and he teaches in a special needs classroom. He’s found that his daily encouragement has inspired his students to lift up their classmates.
I think of my friend who works with refugees in Lansing, Michigan to enable them to learn English, find housing, get some necessities.
I look at friends who organize meals for a family who is sick, the special collection taken at church for those in times of need, the couple that serves in the 2’s and 3’s Sunday school class every single week.
I think of my friend Tim who moved to the Dominican Republic to serve as a missionary. On one visit to a place called “The Hole” (literally a landfill that extremely poor people live in…I am not lying) Tim noticed that people walked barefoot through a rancid stream to get from one place to another. They didn’t have shoes and had little to no access to sanitation. So Tim built a bridge. And Tim used his creative mind to find ways to help that community (I seriously cannot list them all in one post…but it’s amazing). There is now access to clean drinking water, a food kitchen, a church, education, and hope. I went to The Hole years ago. He now tells me I wouldn’t even recognize it.
Good. Not for gain, but for others. Not in our name but in the name of the One who is, by definition good.
Keep your hearts soft, my friends. Don’t allow them to become calloused over by fear and hatred, bitterness and anger. Look to the good that people are doing in the world. It’s a balm.
And that good is everywhere, sometimes you just have to really focus to see it.
I could go on. But I want to hear from you.
How is it that you keep your heart soft when so much is terrifying in this world? What is the good that you see folks doing in the world? I need a good dose of hope – not just today but all days. Let’s share that hope with each other.