Thanksgiving Day 4: The Good in All of Us

Statue of Liberty by Kevin Earl

The Statue of Liberty stands as a beacon of the goodness of man as being show all around her in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. (photo taken by me 4 July 2009 – copyright)

When tragedy strikes, when people’s everyday lives get disrupted by the unplanned for, when unforeseen disasters hit some begin to question God, the purpose of life and so much more. This was the case this last week when a devastating storm struck in the northeastern United States. Millions lost power, sanitary drinking water and toilet facilities, all of their personal belongings and keepsakes, and some lost loved ones including innocent children. No one knows when the region will be fully recovered physically.

In the midst of all of the devastation, loss and anguish, a bright light emerged as it always does in these times. People turned away from themselves and turned to others. Millions more than were affected personally began giving money, supplies, time and manual labor to help. In times like these we truly see what people are made of and the good that lies in all of us seems to break through our hardened cynical exteriors.

Some say it couldn’t have happened at a worse time with the election this week, but I would say it couldn’t have happened at a better time – when the airwaves and social media have been filled with derisive comments and slanderous statements about those who oppose their political philosophies. The disaster breaks the partisan political news up and brings people closer together working for a common cause. This is blatantly manifest as Governor Chris Christie and President Barack Obama work together during this time of crisis.

I chose this as my topic for today because this morning I read an article from CBS news that I admit brought tears to my eyes as I read about the marathoners who went to Staten Island to help clean up.

” … people standing outside one deli yelled encouragement: “Thank you, ladies! God is good.” … One man came out of his home and asked if the runners had flashlights, and they did. At another house, a family wearing face masks asked for batteries and sweatshirts. They said, “God bless you.” The man said, “Let me take your picture.” For runner Hana Abdo, the whole scene was striking. When she found out the marathon had been cancelled, “I was almost in tears because I’ve been training for two years,” she said. “But what is two years of my life to somebody’s whole life?”

People didn’t decide to give because the government asked them to or because they were compelled to by someone else but because of the goodness of their hearts. Because it is the right thing to do and all of us deep down know it. There is good in each of us and I am grateful for that. As terrible as this and other tragedies are, I am grateful for times when I see an outpouring of love like now. It strengthens my hope and trust in my fellow men and helps redirect many people to what is truly important in life; not the TVs and other appliances destroyed but family and friends, not houses and cars but being in the service of your neighbor, and looking out for the good of one another not just yourself.

I believe that we are each children of God and inherently good. So, today I am grateful for the good in all of us that is sometimes evident when things are going well and all the more prominent when tough times hit.

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