There’s a line in a song by singer/songwriter Sara Groves: “If you go looking for offense, you’re going to find it. If you go looking for real love, you’re going to find it.”
The first time I heard this, years ago, it found a place immediately in my psyche as a significant reference point, a simple and profound truth: We find what we seek. And in that light, it makes utterly good sense as a caring human being to intentionally seek out and add to the good. For this is what helps good to grow.
This all came to mind for me yesterday, grocery shopping. I was turning left out of Aisle 7 just as an older gentleman was taking a right into Aisle 7. We simultaneously looked up and smiled at each other. I was struck by the genuine warmth of his smile, the kindness in his eyes. I was about to comment on what a great smile he had, when he beat me to it. He told me my smile affected my entire face, and that’s an indication of a good heart.
How good do you think I felt in that moment? How much do you think that meant to me? How good did I feel, right then, about the state of the world, my community? Pretty amazingly good. That man and his one smile, his kind words helped me to remember and know: there are many, many good people in the world. Right around the corner, in fact. If we just choose to go looking.
This may sound Pollyanna-ish, and, in reality, it is. Remember the storyline if you know it: It is not that Polyanna had no hardship. Just the opposite. It is that amidst the hardship, she chose to find the good, everywhere and in everyone. And by seeking it, she found it. And it grew.
It’s not about being naïve or turning a blind eye to the world’s problems. Just the opposite. Being brave enough to seek and add to the good in this world is the very best way to counteract what’s not good. It’s about acknowledging the only way I can do anything to alleviate the hurts of the world is to focus on healing them. And that? That takes a lot of love and an unshakably positive outlook.
Because, final point? It’s easier and sometimes more immediately satisfying to look for and sink into offense.
But I know this more than I know almost anything else: to stand amidst the darkness with courage in your heart and to sing, seek, love everyone, against the odds, is the only thing that’s ever changed the world for the better. It’s the only thing that ever will.
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