I attended a seminar last week. It was about economics, but the best part to me was the speaker’s view of the world at large. He was hopeful. Positive. Inspiring. He credited his father with guiding him at a young age to” be a student of the good.”
The speaker added, “The world is full of doom and gloom. News outlets cater to people’s craving for it; people want to see and hear it.”
“Not me,” I said to my dinner partner, “I hate doom and gloom.” But of course our speaker was right, we all know “bad news sells” — just note what editors select for headlines.
The speaker lingered on a single slide of his power point presentation, a diagram of a “smart contact lens”. He asked, “Have you heard of them? No? Because they have not been covered in the news. I googled ‘innovative technology’ in my search for ‘good’. These contact lenses are here, in the development stage. With them, we may soon be able to see through walls and see in the dark.”
He closed with a challenge, our “homework assignment”: “I want you to intentionally look for good news in a world full of bad news. Be a student of the good.”
I guess I’ve been doing that, subconsciously, for a long while. It has been a self-preservation response to having been slowly and insidiously overwhelmed with “bad” in the past. I assume balms are different for each of us, as unique as are our fingerprints.
For me, the outdoors consistently soothes my soul. Feeling crisp air. Turning my face to the sun, wind or water. Breathing in the aromas of rain or freshly-cut grass. Soaking in beautiful vistas or sunsets. Capturing that beauty with my camera. I revisit “the good” pictures on days that are gray and unlovely.
“Be a student of the good.”
For me, the joy of others is “good.” Witnessing people and animals engrossed in play or displaying unique abilities makes my heart a little lighter. It’s a privilege to make someone’s favorite thing happen. Their happiness reaches beyond them. There is something contagious about even taking a dog I’m attached to swimming: to him it is heaven; to me it is … well, I guess it’s heaven for me, too.
I savor meaningful conversations with friends who share the same interests and passions. I enjoy being with people I know very, very well … that ease of playing board games, or working side by side, or sharing meals, or traveling. It’s with those people that it’s not work to do even the mundane of life together. I like meeting new people too — the more unlike me, the more I am intrigued by what they think, what they value, what they like to do.
These are are the simple things, the easy things to see and do. The good is there, but often we are so overwhelmed by the truly awful things of this world that we must be intentional. We must search for “good”. Our speaker found innovative technology was his “good”. Your “good” will be something unique to you. You have much control over what consumes your heart and mind. Rather than be overtaken with the bad stuff of life, be “a student of the good”.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.