There are days when the goodness of people makes my eyes well with tears. There are days when I am reminded that the world doesn't truly suck as long as there are good people in it living their lives with goodness. I try, quite often, to be one of those good people, but I see myself constantly outstripped by others in terms of goodness and generosity.
And that's a good thing.
Being the sister of two older brothers, competition is in my blood. There are definitely points when competition is welcome and beneficial, and the race to "do good" is one of those things.
I'd like to share, if I can, a couple of those stories of communities coming together to support those suffering in their midst.
We'll start with something that happened today.
I've talked a lot on this blog about John Green, one of my favorite Young Adult authors, and one half of the vlogbrothers, a Youtube "sensation," as it were.
The other half is his younger brother, Hank Green, who lives in Missoula Montana, is a computer-y guy, and runs a website called "Ecogeek" (I believe).
We also know, from this video, that Hank is dealing with a chronic illness, and has to take daily medication to deal with it. We also know that, already, this medication can get pretty expensive. Up until today, one of Hank's medications cost him $50/month.
This morning (well, for me, it was this morning), Hank tweeted: "I very nearly fainted just now at the pharmacy when they told me my script cost is going from $50 a month to $620."
And it got worse: "I am seriously depressed and scared and angry. There's a scheduled increase to $670 in April. That's $8000 a year."
Now, Hank is lucky enough that he has a large following of supporters and fans who were immediately sympathetic to his plight. But, as most of his fans are teenagers or poor English teachers like me, there's not a lot that we could do except on an extremely short term basis. We felt bad, but we honestly didn't know how to even begin to approach the problem. Thankfully, Hank is also a responsible adult, and was discussing alternatives with his doctor.
And then tonight (for me), Hank tweeted this: "Un-credited, mysterious tweet, to unnamed savior who is helping me in a huge way that I cannot discuss. Thank you thank thank you."
Now, as vague as that is, the only real assumption we can make from it is that someone, somewhere, is helping Hank out with his sudden $8,000/year expense, and that is a wonderful thing. That is something that, as the Green brothers would say, is truly made of awesome.
Another story is one that unfortunately involves one of the places that is a scar on the Christian faith in America: Westboro Baptist. This church, for those of you unaware, likes to blame every dead soldier on America's pro-gay policies (to which I go, "what policies?" but that's another matter). They carry signs saying "God Hates Fags" and the like and protest at the FUNERALS of dead soldiers. They're pretty despicable.
And they make their money to travel to all these different places by suing people who protest against them, who infringe on their rights. As a result, there have been a number of creative and awesome protests against WBC.
But none of them beats the human wall.
In Weston, MO, WBC showed up to protest and found that the corner their permit allowed them to protest on was already taken up by literally hundreds of people. The people from the town and from surrounding communities came out in full force, and formed a barrier to keep the WBC protesters from getting anywhere near the funeral, blocking the view with giant American flags and forming a literal human wall.
If that's not the goodness of community coming together, I don't know what is.
True goodness shows up in communities coming together, in helping out a person you've never actually met, in being willing to reach out to help just one person. And it's those ideas that when others see them, they are spurned on to further goodness.
Being good, being someone who loves others and takes care of their neighbor doesn't have to wait until you have that right job or that right living situation. It can start today. It can start now. We hear a lot of those heroes, those people who went running toward the gunshots, those who wrestle the gunman to the ground, but there are people who everyday help the mother in the grocery line behind them pay for their groceries, who give up having a warm dinner so they can help the person next to them, who take the bus instead of a car so they can afford to help others. There are good people all around, and we can use the stories of others doing good to push ourselves on to doing more.
What good are you going to do today?