Sharon Randall: Open our eyes to the good

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 16, 2016

What’s this world coming to?

My mother mumbled that while reading the paper. My grandmother whispered it at too-short skirts. My granddad spit it like tobacco juice at any kind of cruelty or injustice.

It wasn’t a question so much as a comment: The world, as they saw it, was going to a place where good people and their children did not want to go.

I kept waiting for the world to get to that place. Somehow it never did. It came close at times, more often than I can tell you. But in the darkest moments — in heartache and fear and absolute despair — the world remained for me a mostly good place. Bad things happened for me and my loved ones just as they do for you and yours. But good things happened, too, in far greater measure than bad.

At least, that’s how I saw it.

I remember a rainy Sunday in church, when I was maybe 12 years old, hearing for the first time this Bible verse:

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” — Phillipians 4:8.

I loved the beauty of those words and the wisdom I felt in them. Why? They just made sense to me. Part of that sense was that life offers choices — not in the cards we’re dealt, but in how we play them, and the ways we choose to “think on” them.

Do we open our eyes to the good that surrounds us? Or do we hold a magnifying glass to our fears? Are we quick to judge, or do we offer the same grace we hope to be given? Do we keep wishing someone would change the world? Or do we become the change — some small piece of it — that we want to see?

Questions like that are harder to answer some days than others — especially on days like those of late, when the news is filled with shootings and hatred and death.

Recently, I walked out into a parking lot to get in my car and found on the windshield my front license plate, with a note from someone named Sara.

“Someone hit your car (hard enough to knock off the license plate) and took off,” Sara wrote. She gave a description of the car with its license plate number, and her cell phone number in case I had questions.

I checked the bumper. It was fine. The license plate was bent and clips that held it in place were broken. It wouldn’t take much to fix. But if Sara hadn’t bothered to place it on the windshield, I’d have driven off without it, not even noticed it missing, maybe, for days.

It was 115 degrees in that parking lot. I pictured Sara standing there with sweat dripping off her halo, taking the time to write that note for one reason only: She thought it was the right thing to do.

I phoned and left a message to thank her. She called back and left a message saying it was nothing, just something she hoped others would do for her.

I told that story to my husband. To the repairman who fixed the license plate. To the birds in my back yard.

And to you. I’ll tell it again any chance I get. Good news begs to be told.

Will I always see the world as “mostly good”? There are things I can’t imagine surviving. Yet I know people who’ve suffered unspeakable losses and refused to let it make them cynical.

I take hope in their hope.

The world is changed by the choices we make, how we see ourselves and each other, and by the hope that comes from bearing each other’s burdens and sharing our good news.

What’s this world coming to? It’s coming to all of us — to you and me and a whole lot of “mostly good” people.

What will we do with it?

Sharon Randall can be reached at P.O. Box 777394, Henderson NV 89077 or on her website: