Catching Sight of the Goodness
Have you ever felt utterly hopeless? Like there was nothing left to do, nothing left to give? Have you ever just felt that you were drowning? Tossed and tired by swirling expectations leading to unforeseen aftermath that didn't quite fit with what you believed to be good? Sinking deeper and deeper beneath the cold tumultuous waves of things that simply weren't the way you believed they should BE? The way you had hoped they could BE? The way you had needed them to BE? Unable to break the surface? Unable to change what you perceived to be a lost cause? Unable to catch a breath? Not sure you would ever find air again?
Have you ever lost sight of the goodness?
We have all experienced this agony at some point in time. Sh*&^ happens. Things we did not foresee have a way of catching us on the blindside. Not everything goes as planned, and sometimes, the world does not seem to meet our ideals. Life gets messy. And things have a way of piling up... each disappointment contributing to the underlying belief that we deserve no better, and separating us further from the idea that there may be some goodness to be had.
Trust me. I know. I've faced my challenges, and I, too, have gotten sucked into that tunnel of darkness and despair. Many years were spent in that tunnel battling clinical depression. In fact, I have spent most of my life learning to find and accept the goodness, to be aware that there IS Love in EVERY moment when we are open to receive it, even the most difficult ones. Sometimes, especially those. The good news is, it's possible. You can get there.
Although I know on a deeper level that EVERYTHING happens for a reason (even when it's a reason I don't completely understand) and that growth occurs through EVERY experience, no matter how "good" or "bad" we may judge it to be, sometimes my conscious mind still has a tendency to fight me on this. Sometimes there's a moment of darkness before we can get to the light. My studies in psychology tell me that it's a human tendency and I want you to know that there is nothing wrong with it. But there are things we can do to move through it more easily. And there are gentle reminders that can help us to do this when we allow.
Last year at this time, I was falling into that tunnel. I found myself unable to understand the
cruelty and non-acceptance that I was witnessing in violent acts around the country. All of my beliefs in the inherent goodness of man were threatening to shatter. The world suddenly seemed 100 shades darker than I had believed. I was allowing my unmet expectations to create a sense of judgment over how "bad" it really was. I was allowing my unmet expectations to destroy my belief in the underlying goodness. My hope was being tested. I was afraid: Afraid to raise my children in a world where this hatred existed; afraid o acknowledge what the existence of such animosity could mean. Afraid to accept a world that wasn't behaving as I expected. Because I am a "do"er, I consoled myself by asking what I must do to change it. And I developed a plan.
As a leader, I headed into a cub scout meeting with a detailed lesson for the children attending. I knew exactly what I would say and exactly how I would bring them to a realization that we are all equal. If the world was not living up to my expectations, not exhibiting the values that I believed it should have, then I was going to instill them in the next generation. I was convinced that the world did not know what love was. I was going to teach these kids about love so that they could grow up in a world where love prevails!
We started out talking about differences, charting our different hair colors and different preferences for types of food. My expectations were again disrupted. It was like these children had never even thought to look at the differences before! They actually had to ask a child they were looking right at, "What color is your hair?" Just a few minutes into it a six year old boy stood up and asked, "WHY are we doing this?" I began to explain that we were noticing how different we all are, and a seven year old cut me off, "But none of this matters!" he shouted. "It's what's in your heart that counts and that's where God is!"
I went in on a crusade thinking that I was going to change the world and make it a better place, that I was going to instill goodness in a place where it was lacking. I was going to bring the world to meet MY expectations! I came out recognizing that it's not up to me to decide what the world needs; and that no matter how dark it may seem, goodness always abounds. Yes, tragedies happen, and they are difficult to move through. They do not diminish the goodness that is or the greater love that is constantly flowing into our lives. These children taught me that it doesn't always need to go according to my expectations, in order for me to trust in the goodness.
Sometimes I have to step back and remind myself that everything doesn't always need to go
as I believe it should in order to be "good". I have to accept that a higher power knows a little bit more about what this world needs, and I have to have faith in that. I have to believe that love is always the reason, and that when we look for the opportunities to grow through even the darkness, we begin to unveil the light.
From time to time, we need a little help getting to that realization... and a group of cute cub scouts might not always be standing there to deliver that shift in perspective right when we need it...
But I know what IS: Goodness Abounds; 365 True Stories of Loving Kindness was released just this week on Amazon and has already reached Bestseller. Brimming with evidence that goodness abounds, the pages of this book share stories ranging from small touches to monumental life saves. I am so proud to have contributed a story of goodness to this heartfelt collection compiled by Jodi Chapman and Dan Teck. It is their hope that this compilation helps shift our focus to the goodness that IS, inspiring more of it in the world! It is my hope that in m