You know what I’d like to see between the videos of ice-bucket challenges—as useful as they’ve been in bringing attention to ALS?
In the midst of the uproars and scandals saturating our screens and airwaves, I want to be reminded of the goodness of mankind. It’s there. It’s alive. Those buckets are a start, but…
I want to see videos of simple acts of kindness. I want to read reports of gestures of grace. Of words that heal.  Of purposes that soothe and elevate humanity.
I want to see them celebrated and shared on social media. As we grapple with realities that threaten our trust in each other, can we throw some witnessed-hope over the embers of despair? We are better than cruel. So much more than angry and corrupt.
What have you seen—who have you seenblanketing desperation with love?

  • Restaurants handing out food to the homeless.
  • Doctors treating the mentally ill with dignity.
  • College students donating their time to grueling humanitarian projects.
  • Police officers stopping to assist someone who didn’t ask for help.
  • Mothers lavishing attention on a child that never seems to get enough.
  • Fathers teaching their sons to be compassionate men.
  • Children setting up lemonade stands to donate the funds to the less fortunate.
  • Teachers staying late to tutor a student who isn’t keeping up.
  • Missionaries saying goodbye to loved ones to serve others across the globe.
  • Writers using words to influence The Powers in a rational way.
  • Journalists reporting facts regardless of their popularity.
  • Politicians squandering another term to do the right thing.
  • Pastors pointing out the sin without rejecting the sinner.
  • Citizens using their wealth to invest in despondent communities.

That’s what I want to see wedged in between buckets of ice-water. The same kind of reporting focused on broader, richer, just-as-desperately-needed endeavors—the outrageous beauty of words, gestures and spirits bent on good.


Will you join the conversation?  What have you seen or heard this week that has restored your trust in humanity, even in a small way?  Post in the comments space below, directly on my Facebook page or email and I’ll transfer your comment for you.

Please “Like” and “Share” if you too feel the need for some happier reports.




  1. I’ll go ahead and start: When I was in Chicago this afternoon, I saw a man in a suit who had just finished crossing the street stop, retrace his steps, and ask an elderly lady with bags on each shoulder if she needed help negotiating a high curb.

  2. 25 adults (Chinese, Croatian, Hungarian and American) giving their time and resources to hold a fun festival for Roma (aka gypsy) children in 2 different towns (2 weeks) in Croatia. The children were taught songs, did crafts, taught some reading skills, acted out Bible stories, given some bread and a t-shirt each, and received hugs and fun the whole time and some candy at the end of each festival. 🙂

  3. Knitting project that I contribute to when I have time, has now reached 85 000 baby sweaters sent to Ethiopia, mainly from Finland with a few contributors elsewhere in the world. Started by a missionary who noticed now many babies had nothing to wear after birth. A mother only gets the sweater if she goes to give birth in a hospital, so that has greatly increased the number who go to hospitals and that in its turn has lowered the number of mothers who die at childbirth. The missionary team have spent countless hours at red tape and finally sorted out the customs so it doesn’t cost too much to bring the sweaters in.

  4. A very wealthy older woman I know who donates time and energy (not just easy financial gifts) to help refugees who have just arrived in the area. She doesn’t just help them, she lavishes a mother’s love on them.

  5. Yesterday, I saw someone take an older person with newly diagnosed alzheimers on an in-country mission trip……they were not related…..just because he knew this person had done this trip so many times and would just love to go again if they knew about the trip. He knew this person still had something to give and could serve. That requires great love and great sacrifice…….I know…….my mother died of alzheimers.

  6. I just spent 6 weeks riding my bike from Chicago to Astoria, OR with the Fuller Center for Housing. The goal of the trip was to raise awareness for the Fuller Center its mission to end poverty housing, as well as to raise funds for the Fuller Center. Each rider raised about $1 per mile to go on the trip. Every night we stayed in churches or schools and almost every evening our hosts put on a spread for 30+ hungry cyclists. We had simply asked if we could sleep on their floor, but people went above and beyond for a bunch of strangers over and over again. The generosity of so many, allowed all the money we raised go to the people who need it most. As I listened to the stories of some of my fellow riders, this experience of hospitality restored their trust in the church and in Christians.

  7. Today at the desk of the Christian conference where I work, one guest overheard another guest inquiring about the cost of staying on a few days; the latter shared that their family was in the process of losing their store/business, and that the only reason they had been able to come on vacation this summer was because some other friends paid for them to be here. Later, guest number #1 confessed in a whisper to me that she had been eavesdropping, and wanted to offer to pay half of what it would cost for this family of 7 to stay a few extra days….if the room was available. And she wanted it to be done anonymously.
    How cool is that?

  8. I just found out that a family member who had a construction crew sometimes buys his workers their own personal tools, and even shoes if they can’t afford them…and keeps buying these things for them even if they loose them.

  9. Let me tell you of an incident that took place on my way back home from a family reunion in Canada. My return flight to Texas started off so very early – 4 a.m. early! I felt confident going through security as I had only bought a few Oh Henry bars and a bottle of ketchup for my granddaughter Sarah (who just loves Canadian ketchup). I noticed that my purse was taken and a security official was digging through it. She pulled out my one-inch purple Swiss pocketknife with my name engraved on it. It was a small gift Ken had given to me years ago on one of our trips to Switzerland when we worked at the Black Forest Academy in Germany. An official told me that I could pay one dollar a day for them to keep it or surrender it! I had completely forgotten it was in my purse and I had had it my purse when I left Texas! Since I knew that I wouldn’t be going back to Canada anytime soon, I had to surrender. At that moment, however, it was if a wave of memories hit me, and I dissolved into tears. The floodgates opened, and try as I might, I could not to control them; I just had to let them flow. I quickly grabbed my purse and walked to the line forming to go through customs. Just then a lady appeared before me. “Would you like to sit down?” she asked. “It’s too early for customs.” I thanked her, and she walked me to the last chair available, saying, “I will inform you as soon as the custom officials are ready.” As I sat there, another lady reached down and grabbed my hand, squeezed it and said, “I am praying for you.” I thought, “How kind!”
    As soon as the custom officials opened the doors, the lady was by my side again. She took me by my elbow and said, “I’ll see you through customs.” I thanked her and she stood by me as I showed my passport to the official, who said to me, “I am so sorry for your loss!” How did he know? How did any of them know? She then took my arm and said, “I’ll walk you to your gate.” As we walked, I told her about Ken’s death, explaining that the pocketknife I had to surrender had been a gift from him…the reason for my tears. We walked the length of the hallway to my gate, and she advised me to get a cup of coffee and something to eat. She then asked me for my name and address and told me she would try to recover my pocket knife for me…if she could. I thanked her and offered her money for postage, but she declined it. I grabbed a roll and coffee and was sitting alone when I felt a presence behind me and there she stood again. She said she had come to see how I was doing and stated again that she would try to retrieve the knife but there were no guarantees. I thanked her and told her I was doing okay…
    Today I received a package from Canada, and the customs sticker on it stated “sentimental pocketknife.” I expected to see the return address as “heaven,” but it didn’t say that. I wondered, God have His angels around me in that airport? Oh, yes He did! The human variety, at least! I am so overwhelmed at the love and tender mercies of my Heavenly Father, who cares enough to have a “sentimental pocketknife” returned to me. His mercies are, indeed, new every morning.
    So for those who have sent cards, called or emailed, asking how I have been doing…I am okay and not okay! Thank you for your concern and care. I am so blessed and fortunate to have you as my friends. You have been so generous and you continue to bless me and to pray. Oh, how often I have read and heard the words, “I am praying for you.” A “thank you” does not seem adequate right now to let you know how much you mean to me, but since it is the only way I know… thank you and God bless.
    So secure under His shadow,

    • sally phoenix

    • 10 years ago

    Thedford, ON is a town of 800 inhabitants that is characterized by poverty, single parent families and “at risk” kids. Two days ago I witnessed 190 kids praising God together at vacation Bible camp in the town arena. Pastor Chris has been God’s instrument in building a church from 20 to 150 by investing her energies in the community: i.e. set up a mentoring program in the school for “at risk” kids – also a reading program through the local hockey team – breakfast program in schools for kids who would not ordinarily have one. And so much more. She is the personification of compassion.

  10. A single lady from church whom I don’t believe I have ever met has made 3 large, healthy, and delicious meals for our family while I am going through chemo. Blessed by her gifts and love.

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