Be the good in life

Florida sunrise, rays of hope

Morning rays of hope.

By Bruce Stambaugh

Our lives are filled with bad news almost daily. Much of it is minor, insignificant. Too much, however, is horrific. News of flooding, earthquake, or another school shooting dominates the feeds on our electronic devices all too often.

Every now and then, however, a piece of good news manages to appear. It’s not always in the headlines of newspapers or featured on the trending social media of the day. Good news occurs nonetheless.

I believe that humans are still good by nature. A few prove me wrong, sometimes in a big way. However, adverse events can generate the best in people, often times spontaneously.

When two New York State Police officers working curbside at New York City’s LaGuardia Airport noticed a young woman sobbing after exiting her ride, they asked if she needed help. That’s when the good news story began to unfold.

Jordana Judson headed to the airport when she heard that a good family friend, Meadow Pollack, had been one of the 17 victims at the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Judson had graduated from that same school.

nature walk, mother and son

A mother hugs her son.

Judson wanted to fly home to attend a vigil for her friend. Only she was so distraught that she could hardly talk when the two officers, Thomas Karasinski and Robert Troy, approached her. Together they directed Judson to the proper counter to purchase her airline ticket.

When Judson was told that the one-way ticket would cost $700, she broke down again, exclaiming that she didn’t have that much money. Still crying, she tried to call her mother. In the process, Karasinski and Troy, who had never worked together before, each reached for their credit cards.

Judson tried to wave them off from making the purchase but was too late. The officers handed her the ticket. Judson said she didn’t know what to say about the officers’ exceptional kindness, but gave them each a hug before boarding her plane. Their instinctive act of kindness enabled Judson to attend the service for her deceased friend.

A spark of hope amid all the despair flickered when I read this marvelous story of compassion by the two police officers towards the distraught Judson. The story was so much more than the purchase of a plane ticket. The officers modeled what it means to be the good in life.

We should follow their lead, and we need not wait for a major tragedy to show kindness. Plenty of opportunities to be the good await us every day. We just need to be alert and respond when they present themselves.

Volunteer at a food pantry. Give your neighbor some flowers. Bake cookies for a friend. Buy coffee for a stranger in line behind you. Hug your spouse, your children. Be kind to yourself.

I was in the midst of writing this when a photographer friend in Florida shared with much excitement how her new day had begun. An anonymous person left a note of appreciation on her car door. Every morning Lea makes a point of photographing the ocean and seashore at sunrise, even if it is cloudy. She posts the results on social media for all her friends to see. Lea was effusive about the unexpected note. She concluded, “The greatest joy is giving joy to others.”

Lea is right. If we want to ensure that virtue occurs in the world, the awareness and compassion have to begin with each one of us.

sunrise, shorebirds, photographer

My friend Lea in action.

© Bruce Stambaugh 2018

8 Comments

Filed under column, human interest, nature photography, news, photography, writing

8 responses to “Be the good in life

  1. Susan

    Thank you for sharing this kindness and yours.
    💓
    Susan.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sharing your belief that we are good by nature because I find it every day. This moved me to tears of joy. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Gail B.

    Thank you for sharing such a heartwarming and wonderful story. How very kind. There are unsung heroes everywhere and we need to hear their stories. If they can do that I can do more on a daily basis.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. greg

    Enjoyed your article once again Bruce and it’s ‘spot on’! I GET TO help out at a food pantry a couple times a week and it’s a joy in spite of walking into the small prep area and sometimes finding that 700 pounds of potatoes and 300 pound of onions have been delivered with little space to maneuver them. There is almost always a lot of laughter among those who serve in such venues. There is Joy to be found in serving others… God set it up that way!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Greg, for sharing your insight into what it means to “be the good.” Neva and I volunteer at a food pantry from time to time as well. The laughter that you experience is a result of the joyous service being provided most humbly to those in need. Keep on serving.
      Bruce

      Like

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