Amid the everyday bad news, the wanton shootings, the terrorist attacks, the racist politicians, the bullying of women, the predators, there is also this news.
A community rallies around a young boy, a baby really, who suffered a stroke when he was all of two days old. He is five now, shackled with Cerebral Palsy, often feeling deserted and alone, he cannot communicate with the world around him; so the world around him has come to him.
A collective of concerned neighbors came together last year and coordinated a series of events to raise funds to help support Frank Jr. through the treacherous landscape he will traverse for rest of his life. Nine parties, raffles, and special events later, $39,753 has been raised towards a $100,000 goal in less than a year. Over 220 individual donors participated.
Now, every morning, people on Frank Jr.’s street greet their little neighbor.
Is this shock of tenderness out of the blue? Is the shock of human tenderness, no less amazing than the stories of death, destruction, savagery, and crime? So, why are we surprised at our surprise? Have we grown so accustomed to thinking the worst experiences constitutes our lives, or that evidence of the best of experience is unbelievable, or out of the question?
I think we are too passive in engaging the news. The news is simply what is happening, just as we are what is happening. These are our lives. Ought we not attempt to control this “news cycle” and make it better? Ought we not assert, discover, and announce those moments of moral satisfaction by which we know life, too?
It would be romantically unrealistic to regard the terrors and dark caves of the world as an aberration. We know too much about the dark side and have seen too much. But we can still recognize the thrilling beauty of the world when we see it and cherish it, and celebrate it, and spend time with it.
Tenderness need not be shocking. Good works happen all the time. And they are not at all difficult to understand.
Here’s a news story: A little boy lives in saddening silence, and then he doesn’t. His neighbors change their lives to be his friend.