Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. – Romans 12:9-10
I’d like to start this morning where I left off in Friday’s post, then take it from there. Here’s the quote: It’s good to remember what makes life beautiful. It’s not so much what we see, but how we see it. Beauty and gratitude are often one and the same thing.
Also – and this, I believe, is critically important – we need to understand that if we wait to be grateful until after we have experienced beauty, then we may miss it entirely.
Instead, it is much more true to say that, often, it is gratitude that unlocks beauty.
This truth is increasingly evident in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. The stories that constantly emerge about people helping one-another, kindness, heroism, selflessness, generosity, sacrifice. These things are beautiful.
Tell the Good Story!
There’s an interesting progression in terms of the news media. First, and often very inappropriately, there’s the image of the reporter thrusting a mic into the face of a newly rescued victim. “Your home has been destroyed, your pets are on the roof, and you don’t know where your children are… So how do you feel?”
What?!!! Are you serious? What do you mean, “how do you feel?”
But then, and typically these stories begin to dominate the news cycle, some more enterprising reporter picks up on a story such as the bakery where employees baked for 48-hours nonstop; bread for Houston, rolls for their neighbors. Then we hear about the furniture warehouse where the owner has made all his inventory available for flood victims to have somewhere to rest. Of the flotilla of private boats making run after run at rescuing desperate people whose homes are under water.
Reporting that tells the good story of how people are kind, and good, and generous.
- No politics dividing need.
- Hate and racism washed away by 50-inches of rain.
- No difference between rich and poor when there’s nowhere to go.
- No distinction between Christians and Muslims when you’re waiting to be rescued.
- No worries about who we sell our wedding cakes to when everyone is in the same line for food.
There’s a lot we can learn as a nation from how this catastrophe is playing out. What if the news shows consciously reported more stories of hope than of horror? More videos of reconciliation than riots? More examples of hands reaching across the aisle than partisan obstructionism? More incidences of harmony than hate? More images of people of different orientations having communion together than being turned away?
What if a better way to get your name mentioned on national media was to cooperate with your opponent rather than to humiliate him/her? What if we payed more attention to encouragement rather than reinforcing unseemly behavior by airing it on the nightly news?
What if we turned the tables on hate by setting the table for love?
What if we were so consummately grateful for this life that we not only started to see beauty more clearly, but that it became our preference to the extent that bad news lost its appeal?
Something to think about. Peace – DEREK
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there's always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men's Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.