This I Believe

Jeff - Austin, Texas
Entered on December 19, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
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This I Believe

I believe in the inherent goodness of people. I know you are probably rolling your eyes. My friends think I’m a dreamer, or perhaps uninformed, or maybe a little crazy. But quite the opposite is true (except maybe the crazy part). Their arguments are pretty compelling, but I can’t in my heart listen to them. There is something about the spirit of humankind that is good.

When hearing about the senseless and often merciless aggression in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, the Palestinian state, Africa, and other places around the world, my friends conclude that wars are simply the innate desire for humankind to fight.

When they see rudeness and selfishness in their everyday lives, they conclude that basic common courtesy is a thing of the past and everyone should now simply look out for themselves.

They see senseless crimes committed everywhere, in large and small ways. The stolen lawn mower that was left out overnight. The murder over a set of car rims. The greed of companies and their seemingly careless disregard for others.

What my pessimistic cohorts don’t see is all the real good in people — the current of goodness in this world. You see it the outstretched hand of a child. The returned smile of the cashier at the convenience store. The kindhearted soles that see a family in need on TV and give their time, money and love. If you look, you can see it everywhere.

Goodness is like the current in a river. The current runs differently for each person. For some, it is like rapids, visible right at the surface – a wild ride but clear and deep. Others – in fact, most people — have a more measured current, but they too present a natural and pervasive force. They ebb and flow. They persevere over natural and man-made hurdles. And yes there are others for whom the current seems undetectable, like the river under thick ice. Nevertheless, the current is there, slowly yet methodically making its way to its natural path.

Few of us take the time to see the current that flows around us every day. I feel that I must trust that it is still there, even when not visible. Even when it is covered. So I truly believe in the current of goodness in people. And it is up to me, and all of us, to believe in and participate in the flow. If this is naive, so be it. But my question to you is this: Want is your current?