Except that isn’t really true.
It’s news when someone robs a bank or rips someone off. The TV cameras are there when a politician has been caught in another sex scandal or lying about something else in his life. But the cameras aren’t interested in the millions of good deeds that are done every single day — some big and some small — by ordinary people.
I was reminded of that again Wednesday when I found this note that someone had posted on Reddit. I don’t know where it happened, but someone came outside to find this note on his truck:
You do not know me but I saw that you needed some tires for your truck and I wanted to do something nice for a stranger because one day a stranger did the same for me. The receipt is in the envelope and all you have to do is go by Warehouse Tire on 3rd Street and ask for Steven Hodges and they will put them on for free. All I ask is that one day you do something nice for a complete stranger.
This isn’t the sort of thing to make the news. It’s not something that will get people outraged and passing it along to their friends in anger. And that seems to be what sells today.
The world really is a lousy place, in many respects, but it’s also much better than we sometimes allow ourselves to see. I notice people being randomly nice to each other almost every day. Sometimes, I’m even the one randomly being nice to someone else. But some of us do those things out of habit and forget how much they’re woven into the fabric of our society.
We might not notice it as much as we notice the evil things, but evil seems to have hired a press agent. The people who are doing good are mostly working quietly to do good little things — and nobody notices.
I’m not Pollyanna. I really don’t think that all is right with the world. I do think it’s evil and mean and hard and cold. But I think there’s a lot of good. Sometimes it comes out in things that people do together — such as through churches or civic groups. Other times, it’s just individual acts that nobody else will ever know about.
If you think this world is awful and there’s no joy to be had from living here, you’re blind. Open your eyes to the good things. Revel in the generous things that others are doing. Better yet, enjoy what it feels like to do some of these random acts of kindness yourself.
The world might seem a little more loving and a little less awful. It’s worth a shot.