I’m holding on, with every fiber of my being, to the notion that good things come to good people. My heart clings to this antiquated idea while my brains scoffs. It’s a load of bull, I know. A fantasy. But I’m desperate for something to believe in. I’m searching for a sapling of hope in a charred forest.
Hope. Hope that in the end, everything will be Okay. Copasetic. Just. When the neurons responsible for gloom and darkness, those that live in the rational part of my brain, begin to fire, my irrational brain responds with dogged repetition of that familiar old refrain: good things come to good people.
Every day, in nursing homes, in assisted living facilities, in any nook and cranny of this city where the aged loll, I meet genuinely good people. They tell of pasts filled with backbreaking work, or with nothing to eat, or of surviving unspeakable horrors, or battling illnesses that no longer exist, that ravaged their bodies and left them forever scarred. But these very same people, whose bellies ached from hunger, shared what meager morsels they had with anyone in need. Those same people sacrificed what little they had, without giving it a second thought, and they did so only because helping their fellow man was the “right thing to do.”
I’m fortunate. For brief moments, I immerse myself in stories of kindness, of goodness, of caring and selfless acts that came so naturally, they were almost reflexive. But things are different now. Younger people, people my age, people who should have gathered enough life experience by now, don’t seem to care about others. They turn a blind eye, walk away, change the channel, tune out.
You know what bums me the most? When that guy who fiddled while Rome burned, when that guy walked away from the smoldering ashes, he found a brand-spanking new violin waiting for him. And the little man below, he just kept getting burned.
Still, I cling to the notion…