21 Dec There’s Always Some Good Just Waiting for You to Find It!
This article is about finding the good in life. Now, possibly more than ever, it’s time to look for some light in what has been a challenging year for everyone. Some definitions of good are: “being of benefit to someone or something” and “providing enjoyment, satisfaction, comfort, and ease.”
I have learned that finding the good in life is linked to our expectations that it exists. To illustrate, here’s a story I’ve presented numerous times during the Holiday Season. This time, it comes with a little twist.
A tired young man walks along the dark banks of a river. He’s alone this Christmas, having moved far from family and friends to accept a new job. Kicking a clod of earth, he sees an old clay pot. Stooping to pick it up, he reads along its edge: “Rub this, make a wish, and…”
The last words are hiding under some mud, too blurry to read.
Too tired to read the rest, he rubs the pot just to see if anything happens. A Genie appears in a blue puff of smoke, saying: “Your Wish is My Command, Sir!”
After a moment of shock, he considers: should he wish for an exotic vacation, a new car, or more money? Nope. He already has what he needs or wants, except for one thing, a good and sweet Christmas to help him lessen his loneliness.
Getting over his initial reaction, the man says to this tall, exotic visitor:
“I want to have the best, happiest Christmas possible. I’m lonely and tired. It’s been a challenging year at this job. Yes, I want to have a wonderful time despite being away from my family and friends.”
There’s a pause. The Genie stands in silence as though waiting for something more. Receiving nothing else from the man, he smiles and disappears.
“OK,” says the man. “Let’s see what happens.” Instantly, he feels better. A slight glow of anticipation starts in his heart as he turns back toward his car, shoving the pot to one side of the car seat.
Driving home, he sees a young woman whose car has just blown a tire. She’s shaken. It’s getting darker. She’s cold, alone, and worried, having waited over 45 minutes for a tow truck. Filled with new energy from his encounter with the Genie, the man helps her change it. She is so grateful she hugs him, giving him some of the sweet oranges she was bringing to her Grandmother. At that moment, the glow in his heart grows. It reminds him to send his parents their favorite pears for an unexpected New Year’s present.
The following day, he passes by a Christmas tree in the mall. Each limb has a card that says what a child wishes for as a gift. It’s a child who wouldn’t get one if someone didn’t buy it. He plucks one card and buys a miniature train set for a boy of nine. That act continues to warm his heart.
This feeling of warmth brings to mind how wonderful it would be to call his brother Dave and invite him to a Zoom meeting on Christmas Eve, which he does. Surprised at hearing from him after a couple of months, the brother accepts. Their evening together three days later is memorable. They reminisce and tell jokes, like when Uncle Jake backed into Dad’s Christmas Tree Display out front. The man’s heart grows even warmer.
Earlier that same day, he hears about a local program feeding the unhoused in his city. Arriving at three in the afternoon, he finds a place serving desserts, laughing and joking with the rest of the crew.
He calls his parents, worried about how he’s doing, and tells them he’s having a great Christmas. They’re relieved! By this time, the man’s heart is brimming with so much joy that he is sure his wish is coming true.
On December 27th, he finds that old pot in his car and rubs it again to thank the Genie and ask for his remaining two wishes. That’s when he gets a shock!
The Genie appears and, after the greeting, says to him:
“But, I didn’t do anything, Sir! Look at the pot again. It says: ‘Rub this pot, and when the Genie appears, first say: ‘I command you, Genie, to do this for me.’ I am compelled to do what you command. And, Sir, you only have one wish. So, what would you most love to have?”
The question is, what does he ask for when his heart is full of joy? We’ll never know.
You’ve probably guessed the story’s moral: your mind will always bring you what you’re looking for. In this case, the man expected a great Holiday Season. As his heart warmed, he automatically found things to do that were good for him and others.
If you’re feeling “Grinch-y” and need your own Genie, I’m including a short clip by Brother David Steindl-Rast on Gratefulness. It’s the best antidote for the “holiday blues,” or, for that matter, any stress or frustration you might feel during the year.
Here’s your assignment:
- Watch the short YouTube recording before you do anything else right now! It’s only five minutes! Your brain will love it! Even if you have to watch it twice before you experience a warm, open feeling around your heart. You owe it to yourself to take a deep breath as you relax.
- Then, take a small card and hand print the following, and put it where you can see it every day until January 2nd:
“ I am willing to find the good surrounding me.”
Notice what you “find” lying there before you! Write it down so you always have proof that the good in your life is there!
There’s another gem for us to see here. According to research into what motivates people, we’ve discovered that feeling follows action. It stands to reason that when you do something that you see as the “right” or “good” thing to do, your resulting experience will be one of “being of benefit to someone or something” and “providing enjoyment, satisfaction, comfort, and ease.” In other words, you start to feel even better!
The following is the 4-step process that summarizes what we’ve been looking at:
Step one. You are willing to look for the good around you.
Step two: You automatically start feeling better.
Step three: Feeling better, you discover ways to see and do something “good” for someone else.
Step four: 4. As a result, you feel even better and automatically initiate Step one!
You have options for a good holiday season if you are away from home or have work difficulties. One man I interviewed about how he kept his spirits up while away from family and friends over the Holiday Season told me he set up two game nights, one where family joined together and one just for friends. They picked games beforehand, ensured everyone got their hot chocolate or egg nog, and played together for an hour or two. Just a few hours with loved ones brought happiness to everyone there. All had a good time.
You’ll hear from me again after the New Year. Meanwhile, I send you my love and deepest wish that you all find the good in your life. It’s been waiting for you!