Maybe this will be the year. Maybe this will be the Christmas that erases all the bad stuff that’s happened. Maybe the old year will disappear once the holiday arrives and all our troubles will be out of sight. You never know.
Perhaps some wonderful thing you’ve been waiting for is going to spontaneously occur this year. Maybe you’re about to be happier than you’ve ever been. Maybe a surprise will come out of nowhere.
Perhaps you’ll make a new best friend. Or you might get a new job that will put money in your pocket. Maybe the handsome guy in third period English will ask you on a date.
Maybe your cancer will respond to treatment. Maybe for once you will stand up for yourself. Maybe you’ll finally be pregnant. Maybe your father, who abandoned you when you were a kid, will call after 30 years and apologize. Maybe you will fall in love. Maybe this will be the year.
I know you think I’m full of it, but what if I’m not? After all, this kind of stuff happens every day. So why couldn’t it happen to you? Tell me, why not? I am being serious, I would like you to explain why something wonderful can’t happen to you personally. Go ahead, I’m waiting.
See? You can’t do it. You can’t name one valid reason why an event that is life-changingly, unexpectedly awesome can’t take place in your life. Because the one thing we all know about this universe is this: anything can happen.
So, not to point out the obvious, but this means that on a deep level, you are aware that these miracles are always behind the gate. They can take shape as easily as clouds materialize in minutes. They can grow as simply as a sapling becomes a sycamore. As surely as a Buick burns oil.
Good things can happen as effortlessly as tragedies. And these marvelous joys can befall entire civilizations at once. Which leads me back to my opening sentence, which was… Hold on, let me look. Ah, yes.
Maybe this will be the year.
Now, I know that this is all starting to sound pretty far fetched, but I promise, I’m not a complete weirdo. I don’t organize my furniture according to feng shui, and I’m not selling an infomercial book series on how to get rich, cut carbs, and get a firm butt in 30 days or less.
I am talking to you in solid, feasible, logical terms. Good stuff can happen in your life. It can happen to the entire human race, too. It happens the same way a virus spreads. And we’ve learned a lot about viral things this year, haven’t we?
When goodness multiplies it becomes an unseen whitewater flood that even the strongest civil engineers could not dam. Like a torrent that smooths jagged boulders, cuts through mountains, and carves brand new Grand Canyons into the heart of man. And even though you might not physically see all these good vibes swimming around, believe me, they’re out there.
A few days ago at Dairy Queen something good happened. It took place about 100 miles north of Minneapolis, in the wintry town of Brainerd. An ordinary guy pulled up to the drive-thru window and told the cashier he wanted to pay for the order of the car behind him.
It was a nice gesture. The store manager, Tina Jensen, has seen this happen before. This sort of thing isn’t unheard of during the holidays. Usually the next person in line realizes they’re getting a free meal and ends up doing the same thing for the car behind them. On and on it goes.
Tina Jensen says a chain reaction like this can sometimes last for up to 10 or 15 cars before it peters out.
But in the little town of Brainerd, on one chilly Thursday, a 10-dollar gesture of goodwill did not peter out. In fact it spread like heat rash.
After one man paid for the car behind him, it just kept going. Pretty soon every single customer in the drive-thru line was doing the same.
This kept up all morning. Then all afternoon. All night. And it carried over into the next morning. And the next afternoon. And the next evening. And the next day. This domino-effect took place for two and a half days, each person doing their part, each person adding to the chain of Christmas glee. And after 900 hundred vehicles, it was STILL HAPPENING.
Nine hundred. Stop and think about that.
That’s a rural school district. That’s 100 baseball teams. That’s… It doesn’t matter how many that is. What matters is that these 900 people are your fellow human beings. Within that drive-thru line was your boss, your landlord, your neighbor, your mother, your babysitter, your cousin, probably not your ex, but give it time.
That’s a lot of good out there. Maybe somebody who gave money at that drive-thru will even be reading these words. Or better yet, maybe somebody reading this will end up starting the same thing at their drive-thru. Maybe people will be doing unsolicited charitable deeds in Cleveland, Atlanta, Sacramento, South Padre Island, Washington D.C., Pensacola, Eugene, Los Alamos, or Topeka.
Maybe, just maybe, this wasn’t a rare act that happened in a fairytale-like distant land, but something that happens every moment of every day. All the time. Around the world. In every dark corner.
Maybe simply knowing how much unrestrained beauty is out there will help you realize that it’s not a matter of whether this unseen goodness can alter the world, but it’s just a matter of when.
Maybe this will be the year.