Rays of Hope

June 30th, 2016 Posted by Susan's Musings 15 comments

Last week, when I was feeling overwhelmed by the mendacity, chicanery and overall incompetence of politicians and the press, I gave myself a challenge. The next Musing, the one I am writing now, will sound positive.

It would be easy to write of family, friends, health, the comforts of living in America in the 21st century or hundreds of other blessings that effortlessly spring to mind. All of these are crucially important and much appreciated,  but as a Musing to contrast with last week’s, this would be a cop-out. I decided that I needed to find rays of hope on a national level. Here are some of the things I found:

  • There are lots of great resources out there for getting a real education. I have just started listening to a Hillsdale College course on the Constitution. If I have only finished the first class in the series over a period of two months, that’s only due to my deficiencies. But the material is available. Of course I got an email asking for a contribution to the college. That is perfectly just and I should send something in for the value they are making available. (Are you a conservative paying to send your child to a liberal, anti-God university? Make next year’s tuition payments contingent on their watching these videos with you over the summer.)
  • Look at the crowds at any pro-life event. There are young, attractive and articulate men and women who are leading the charge.
  • There are still good people out there who are willing to get involved and try to make a difference through the political system. My friend Ruth works tirelessly to stay involved in local politics and keeps the rest of us informed.
  • In the same vein, there are people running for office despite the financial and emotional toll on their lives, simply because they want to do the right thing. These people actually do have full lives, both personally and professionally but they are truly stepping up in the spirit of public service. (Reminder to me: send a contribution to Dr. Mark Plaster’s campaign for Congress.)
  • There are many fantastic young people out there who are working hard and living moral, upright lives. They are too busy to go out in the middle of the day to join destructive rallies (not that they’d be drawn to them anyway) so the press ignores them. But they do exist and are productive beacons of light in the world.
  • Many of these same young people also give time and energy to volunteer work. Even those whose volunteer work might be for causes with which I disagree, nonetheless represent a spirit of giving that is a reason for optimism.
  • Despite the media and cultural focus on all the negative, in my daily interactions whether in stores, on the street or while traveling, I overwhelmingly see people smiling at and graciously helping other people of all sizes, shapes and appearances. I read about road rage and misbehavior on airplanes; I see proper behavior and kindness all around me.

Wow! When I started this Musing I thought it would only be fair to have seven positive bullet points since I had seven negative ones last week. I hesitated to declare my goal at the top because I wasn’t sure I’d make it. Yet once I started, I found the ideas coming easily. I hope they uplift you as they do me.

15 comments

LJ says:

This post is truly uplifting. Thank you so much, Susan, for demonstrating the power of the light (relative to the dark, that is.) Our family wholeheartedly agrees with you about it. And I’ll just add a few comments on top of yours:
– each Fourth July we celebrate with a reading of the Declaration of Independence
– I usually ask clerks – whenever I go to the store, bank, etc. – if they are well and they usually reply with lots of details, especially if they’re not well; and the answers are okay because I genuinely ask them (once a woman told me that she would be on the street that night because her roommate had kicked her out, so I suggested that the Methodist church around the corner would likely know how to help her – her situation and mine could not go further than that and if she’d have asked me then I might’ve asked them on her behalf, but I was uncertain about her truthfulness);
– some of the best learning books out there for classwork are the ‘Workbooks’ for Dummies; I know many people are turned off and it sounds ‘dumb’, but the calculus, physics, biology, science, geometry, trig etc. are very good books with lots of problems to solve
– there are many people who are definitely leading wholesome lives and doing many good things, but the media doesn’t share these stories (I didn’t add here, I’m just repeating Susan’s sentiments)
– our daily gratitude for being alive goes a very long way, so we do our best to have a happy life and smile
-Oh and ‘Drive Safely and Friendly’
I wish everyone a Happy and Safe American Independence Day Celebration!

Thanks for bringing up the Fourth. I’m glad to have the reminder to wish everyone a rejuvenating Fourth of July.

James says:

Hey, don’t be hard on yourself! You uplift us, your loyal readers, every week with your thoughts, with your courage to point out what is wrong, yet also what is right. Hope you and the Rabbi have a great Fourth with some quality time with your families.

And you, James! (writing the Musing spurred me to make both contributions I mentioned.)

Nancy says:

Verily verily. Reading your musings is like discovering that unicorn are real, although not as glamorous as we had initially been led to believe. In so doing, it helps us appreciate the Andalusian that much more. And that is without even mentioning the revelation provided to us of the supernatural characteristic of currency!

Peter says:

One of my pet charities since its inception in 2006 has been the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation which has built a fabulous museum in northern Virginia honoring the memory of all those who have served. Last week, I had a business trip that took me to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina – one the primary Marine Corps bases in the U.S. As it happens, I stayed in a nice hotel 20 minutes from the “Main Gate”, and I couldn’t help but notice these older gentlemen wearing Marine Corps T-shirts and hats, as well as the trucks and other vehicles in the parking lot bearing the eagle, globe and anchor symbol.
As it turned out, I happened to have arrived at the hotel just as the members of the Vietnam-era Marine Corps Amtracs veterans were arriving for their annual reunion (held in a different U.S. city each year).
An Amtrac is a motorized amphibious vehicle that ferries Marines from ship to shore in the battle zone. Kind of like a 1960’s version of the WWII era Higgins boat that we’re all familiar with from films like Saving Private Ryan.
I was in awe of these guys. They were sooooo cool! To a man, they fairly well glowed with the patina of pride that comes from having lived a life of honor. The camaraderie was just amazing. I couldn’t find an open seat in the breakfast restaurant because these guys were just having the biggest time catching up with one another along with their wives and families.
I chatted with several of them, but was careful not to steal too many of the moments that I could see were so precious to them. An then off I went to work at the base where the current vanguard of youngsters in their camou fatigues sporting “Mil Reg” haircuts (which cost all of $4.00 up and down the strip) were busily going about the business of keeping America free.
This hotel encounter was no coincidence. Our Good Lord never ceases to shower us with blessings. And this is a special one I thank Him for, and one I won’t soon forget.
Shalom Shabbat, and happy Independence Day to one and all.

Thank you for sharing that lovely and uplifting experience, Peter.

James says:

Semper Fi, Pete! Thanks for your support of the Marine Corps! My Dad was a Marine officer decorated for action in Chosen Reservoir, Korea (local T was near -30 degrees F!). He was strong and independent and we thought he’d live forever. Sadly, we lost him in 2012 at age 90 years. But being raised in a Marine family makes one a Marine in spirit, exposed to the same values and expectations.

Peter says:

James, your dad was a great American — and so are you!

Lynn Perrizo says:

I read this this morning and felt like I should share it. It is good. Why do we despair?
(I tend not to give links, but the article is “The Proper Response When All Outcomes Lead to Ruin” by Steve Berman)

Lora says:

‘…blessings that spring effortlessly to mind…’ Well, sometimes for me they don’t. This is my fault, weakness, sin, mistake, and loss. I am working on that on a regular basis. I want to add here a few details that might uplift others as they do me, and I take them so for granted:
*my daughter grows her hair long, cuts it, and sends it to Locks of Love, a wig company that makes wigs for chemotherapy patients that are children. She does this as often as she can.
*this week at church, our youth group collected up the boxes of items that had filled up with donations to an orphanage in Haiti. This orphanage was run in part by a childless couple who attend our church. They sorted and organized the stuff and got it ready to go, however they manage such things.
*my other daughter has begun building a small business of her own because she has the reputation of being honest so people don’t mind handing over their keys and their pets for her to pet sit, walk, and house sit.
*the lady at the dollar store I frequent was missing for a bit; when I stopped there the other day she greeted me like a long lost cousin or something. I was so happy to see her up and at ’em that we probably sounded like a family reunion. She’s such a sweet lady.
*I saw an article on a newspage I usually consider fairly liberal that surprisingly commented that Americans are becoming more aware of the threats that sharia law represent to the principles of this country.
*I also noticed certain parents who usually thrust all aspects of education onto the schools who were this time actually discussing the education of their children. I was kind of amazed to see their eyes opening, and the little blossoming of hope that it kindled in me.
*Thanks for the eye-opening article. I enjoy your comments section, too. There are plenty of places online where I simply will not scroll down. But here, it’s a great place to stop by, read your musing, and then scroll down and click on the comments section.

It is a good article, Lynn.

Thanks for sharing these. Your comments about people who are or trend liberal reassessing education and sharia law (as examples of two issues) explains Brexit in my mind. Real people are being affected by real issues and so they aren’t able to just believe what the press is telling them is fine or that anyone with a different opinion is a hater.

Lora says:

The funny thing is that when I first heard about Brexit, I wondered if something terrible had happened, because the reactions online. On further examination I realized that this was a good thing, a great thing, and what was all the moaning about? I bet it will cause a great deal of adjustment, but seriously, I was amazed at how many considered it a horrible world experience.

I like what Henry Kissinger said, that Brexit is an opportunity. Whether the EU and Britain take advantage of it is up to them. I too skip the comment section on many blogs. They bring out the worst of the worst. I very much enjoy the comments I get.

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