“That’s good. That’s Bad.”
I recalled this tag line from one of my favorite children’s’ books by that title, as I watched nature unfold while on safari in Africa.
A lion was in hot pursuit of an antelope. “Oh, that’s Bad.”
The antelope, away from the protection of its herd, leaped into the water to halt the lion’s pursuit, just narrowly escaping certain death. Oh, that’s good.
But almost immediately a crocodile surfaced with wide-open jaws and the antelope succumbed. Oh, that’s bad.
Life in the bush is a constant tale of, “Oh that’s good. That’s bad.”
But so it is for our lives as well.
Out in the bush, I was away from the horrific news events that occurred in Seville, Spain and in my own country in Charlottesville, and now in Houston.
How is it possible to remotely think of, “That’s Good,” with tragedy, loss, and devastation?
Those events are unequivocally horrific.
Yet, what’s good?
The immense outpouring of love and kindness. The swell of people supporting one another. The rush of goodness and financial support.
I know of a Dr. in Houston who used his own kayak to rescue thirty-nine people and pets from their flooded homes. There was the furniture owner who opened his shops to allow people to sleep on his merchandise. People who formed human chains to rescue others. People who cooked for rescue workers.
This news abc news link highlights a few of the stories of greatness and kindness not often reported in the news.
And yes, there were the looters and the schemers, and those stories tend to reap the greatest media attention, but there were and are also hundreds of good people who continue to do small things with compassion.
How do we take something bad and reshape it?
When we focus on those acts of kindness it fuels us with hope and possibility and inspires our own acts of compassion.
When we focus on the devastation, harm, and malevolence, we succumb to those energies.
Hating, even for good, is still hating.
Hating is an energy that drains and harms us. Hating feels bad and bad feelings makes us more subject to finding ways out of that pain with drugs, alcohol, food or anything else to numb it.
Where we put our focus defines our experience.
I am reminded of Ann Frank, who amidst unimaginable atrocities, maintained an astonishing perspective. Her courage, her focus, and her faith beg us to follow.
“It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
― Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl