I had just finished my morning shift at Starbucks. Only one customer had given me any attitude, but it happened precisely as my boss was moseying by. The fact that this customer was having a bad day ended up frustrating several of us behind the counter. Naturally, my boss knew that my co-workers and I hadn't done anything wrong, but it created a bit of unnecessary hullabaloo. Somewhat stressed, I sat down to twiddle my thumbs across my phone and discovered that the tragic plane crash two days ago in Europe was quite possibly intentional. Great, I thought. What is the matter with humans?
At the exact moment I had that thought, my cell phone rang in my hands. "Mom Cell." She never calls this early, I thought. What could it be now?
I'll tell you what it was: news that made the rest of my morning disappear immediately.
My uncle, who has been renting out space to some unfriendly cancer in his lymph nodes for quite a while now, had found a perfect match for a marrow transplant. The odds of this are so slim it is difficult to describe. Not only must someone match all of the criteria -- they must be willing to undergo the process with a complete stranger. Over the past month, two matches had opted out. However, a kind soul in Germany (five words that rarely go together in that order)*, had not only matched, but had said YES.
This might save my uncle's life.
It got me thinking. If this happened today, things of this sort must be happening all the time. How many people have their lives saved on a daily basis? We never hear about the bone marrow matches, or the kidney transplants, or anything in that realm. We always hear about the mass murders, the plane crashes.
Part of that is because plane crashes have an element of gore that attracts the dark side of us humans. They are so rare and tragic, it is difficult for us to look away. Also, many people find a sick sort of pleasure in the macabre. It's almost as if they like the emotional jolt of pain.
But how beautiful is it to know that flanking these tragedies are innumerable acts of selflessness, courage, and compassion? We don't always realize it because they don't necessarily happen to us -- and they certainly do not make the news. But if you are in need of inspiration today, just think about my uncle and that generous soul in Germany.
So next time you turn on the TV to watch a show about death, sadness, and loss… or the next time you find yourself glued to news stories about terror…
Remember that a lot of good is happening -- whether you like it or not.
*This is what we call a joke. Take it. Laugh.