To remember in trying times, “All shall be well”

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, June 16, 2016

The shattering events of this past week in Orlando have rendered it nearly impossible to write a humor column, something I was bound and determined to do after sharing the sad loss of my beloved terrier, Bonnie.

But writing something pithy or clever or just silly seems wildly inappropriate when so many are openly grieving and an entire community is rocked. Such mind numbing hostility and evil. Because we feel compelled to know “why,” when such horror arises, we turn on the television which, in a frenzied effort to continuously feed a 24 hour news cycle,  inflicts even more alarm as it pedals “filler” material of speculation, innuendo and outright falsehoods.

And yet we sit glued, unable to turn away. I know I do, and I loathe myself for it.

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This is when it’s so easy and frankly, lazy, to feel hopeless and hostile. This is what inspires assignations of blame and hateful rhetoric, along with snarky memes, to appear on social media, attacking politicians, races, religions, lifestyles. That whole “Love thy neighbor” command is rudely elbowed aside amidst a series of angry, “Yeah, buts-”

This is also when Google and I become BFFs. The information that appears from a few keystrokes stares back at me truthfully, confirmed. Validated. There is so much good out there, people. Every day. Right now. In front of us all.

One of my pet charities is Mobile Meals. Just in the community in which I reside, Mobile Meals delivers and checks on 1,300 people every day. 1,300 people, mostly housebound and alone, receive a smile and a greeting and perhaps their only hot meal of the day, five days a week. To keep this going, our local chapter has to raise $175,000 per month. And somehow, they manage.

Churches and organizations fill the backpacks of needy children, so that when they leave school for the weekend, they have food to eat and toiletries for hygiene until they return to school the following Monday. It’s done in a careful, tactful way so that children aren’t singled out in front of their classmates and embarrassed by their poverty.

Every day across this country, in each town, food pantries are manned for the hungry.

Outreach ministries pay utility bills for those who’ve had their power cut off in stifling heat and youth groups give up their Saturday to fundraise with a car wash.

Habitat for Humanity volunteers swing hammers and wield paintbrushes and the Red Cross comes to the aid of a family who has just lost everything in a fire.

The Salvation Army and Goodwill dish up hope and employment opportunities and across the world, Doctors Without Borders put their lives on the line each moment to tend to the victims of ‘collateral damage’ in war zones.

Babies born with HIV in Africa now thrive because desperately needed medicine has been made available to them. And everywhere, young people and retirees are undertaking volunteer and mission work to see to it that a village has a resource for clean water and pregnant women have access to pre-natal care.

Most recently, in Orlando, hundreds lined up to donate blood…

All of this information – just a thimbleful, really – is exactly the balm my heart requires to stride back into humanity, open hearted, hopeful for what the future may bring.

We’re not going to hell in a hand basket. “These kids today” are actually pretty great. ISIS is not winning. And should something awful happen from time to time, the ground swell of love and support that arises ends up being the big story and the lasting memory.

There is so much truth in Julian of Norwich’s gleaning during one of her divine visions, in answer to her query in regards to evil: “…All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”

And it is well, indeed. Every moment.