Good

So the news is blaring on a television in my room. It’s been playing the same sort of thing for five days. Men in suits, shouting at one another. Footage of one man punching another. Swearing. Pharmaceutical commercials. Politics. Pop music. The Kardashians.

A nice car stalls in traffic. Horns honk. People shout. Four Mexican men leap out of a dilapidated minivan. They push the broken down vehicle from a busy intersection.

In the front seat: Jocelyn. A seventy-three-year-old woman.

When she is out of harm’s way, one of the men says something in English:

“You need a ride, ma’am? We’ll take you wherever you wanna go.”

They drive her home, across town. She offers to pay for their gas. They decline. She offers to feed them. They accept.

Years later, Jocelyn dies. At her funeral, Jocelyn’s daughter sees a group of unfamiliar Mexican men.

They tell her the story I just told you.

Chase. He is middle-aged and clumsy. He has the idea to repair his own roof. Bad idea. He climbs on the house while his wife is away.

He loses his footing. He trips. The shrubs break his fall—and his leg.

A neighbor’s fourteen-year-old son sees the accident. The boy calls 911, then performs first-aid. The kid even rides to the hospital inside the ambulance with him.

When Chase awakens, there is a boy, sitting at his bedside, mumbling a prayer.

“Called your wife,” says the kid. “I found her number in your phone.”

That boy is an adult now, and and he is one of Chase’s closest friends.

There’s a girl. I’ll call her Karen. As a child, she was abused by her father. Karen leaves the details out when she tells me the story. Karen left home when she was old enough to drive. She drove six states away and tried to forget her childhood altogether.

And she did. One divorce and two kids later, things were looking up. She had a job managing a cellphone store, a nice apartment.

Her aunt called one day. Her father was sick. Stomach cancer was eating him from the inside out.

“Why the hell should I care?” was Karen’s first response.

She didn’t sleep for a week thereafter.

She packed her children and belongings into a Ford Escort and drove six states toward a hole she used to call home.

Her father was gaunt and poor. He needed in-home care, but couldn’t manage to make it happen.

She moved her family into his spare bedroom. For nearly two years she cooked meals, washed clothes, bathed him, and helped him use a toilet.

And days before his end, his words were:

“You must be some kinda angel or something. How can you possibly give a $%*& about someone like me?”

“I don’t know,” she says. “Because I love you.”

He asks Karen to forgive him.

So the news is blaring on a television in my room. It’s been playing the same sort of thing for five days. Men in suits, shouting at one another. Footage of one man punching another. Swearing. Pharmaceutical commercials. Politics. Pop music. The Kardashians.

A news commentator remarks, “Our world is in serious trouble, folks.”

Serious trouble. Well, maybe it is. Lord knows, I don’t have the credentials to refute that.

Maybe the end of the world is near. Maybe our civilization will only last a few days before going up in flames. Maybe hatred will finally conquer the world. Maybe the angry mob wins. Maybe there is no hope for this planet we call home. Maybe.

But I don’t believe it.

And I won’t.

Not after meeting Karen.

18 comments

  1. Jeanne Butler - July 24, 2018 6:20 am

    You give me hope Sean. Love

    Reply
  2. Martha Owens - July 24, 2018 10:58 am

    It would surely be more beneficial to mankind if the “news” contained more “good” events and less “bad” events. Keep up your inspiring view of life!

    Reply
  3. Terri Boykin - July 24, 2018 11:40 am

    Love you much Sean,
    Terri

    Reply
  4. Jo Ann - July 24, 2018 11:56 am

    I don’t believe it either. There are plenty of good people out there. Sean, please keep reminding us about them & telling us their stories. You are a blessing.

    Reply
  5. D. Green - July 24, 2018 11:56 am

    I really, really needed this. For the foreseeable future, I need to quit watching/reading the news and just read your column. THANK YOU.

    Reply
  6. Phillip Saunders - July 24, 2018 12:39 pm

    Sean,
    Youdaman! You are spot-on again – there IS a ton of good in the world that far outweighs the bad. It’s all around us if we seek it, and you are finding it every day.

    Reply
  7. Karen Hazel - July 24, 2018 12:52 pm

    It didn’t quite happen like that. He rolled a tractor over on himself and wasn’t found for hours, still alive, but died of blood loss right after they put him under.

    Reply
  8. Jack Darnell - July 24, 2018 1:43 pm

    There are times I think I am the only one who believes in good, but then I smile, I know I am NOT the only one. There are millions of GOOD folk to keep this country and world afloat. But I do despise the thought about news that if it BLEEDS it LEADS.

    Reply
  9. Beth - July 24, 2018 2:04 pm

    Great words! I believe God is still in control. He hasn’t fallen off the throne and in the end all the bad will be swallowed up.

    Reply
  10. Shelton Armour - July 24, 2018 2:21 pm

    Very uplifting and offers hope in a world that desperately needs all it can get.

    Reply
  11. Rebecca Qualls - July 24, 2018 2:38 pm

    I share your belief Sean!!

    Reply
  12. Carol - July 24, 2018 3:10 pm

    God is still in control. And there’s s lot of Karen’s still out there, we just don’t hear about them !
    Thank you for sharing!!
    Love ya!

    Reply
  13. Edna B. - July 24, 2018 4:12 pm

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the news media would show us some of the “Karens” in this world? It would be oh so nice to hear about the good folks instead of just bad news. Sean, you’re a blessing. You keep meeting the good folks and introducing them to us. We love you for that. Pogo and I are wishing you an awesome day, hugs, Edna B.

    Reply
  14. Jack Quanstrum - July 24, 2018 7:17 pm

    Great story. Loved it. Individuals do make a difference in the world in which we live, Karen you, your wife. And all the people you write about.

    Reply
  15. Ava McCurley - July 25, 2018 1:25 am

    I read somewhere that forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. It always does you more good than the offender. I know that for a fact.

    Reply
  16. Patricia Gibson - July 26, 2018 1:55 am

    I agree!!

    Reply
  17. cronkitesue - July 26, 2018 1:45 pm

    You are a splendid observer of the human condition. I, too, believe in the innate goodness of most of us.

    Reply
  18. Mies Handy - July 26, 2018 4:22 pm

    You are the best!!!!!!!!

    Reply

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