There are a lot of obligatory 9-11 posts everywhere today, as there should be. The events of that day thirteen years ago shaped our lives and our continued existence and unfortunately, were just the beginning of so many things (though possibly not as dramatic) that continue to shape our world, many would say for worse. It's so easy to look around at all the horrible things going on around us, the hatred and anger, governments collapsing, wars raging, natural calamities so rampant on the news and fighting their ways into our homes and minds at every turn and give in to the feelings of discouragement, despair, and fear that they bring.
Since I've confessed my tendencies to fall prey to these feelings anyway, I put myself particularly on guard at moments like this and limit my time spent news watching or feeding the social media frenzy. And I find myself clinging to the stories of human goodness that inevitably arise from the ashes if we look hard enough; the people who rushed back into the burning towers to save complete strangers, those that fought to overtake the terrorists and bring down their plane in a field, the countless unsung heroes who did their jobs day in and day out under a cloud of smoke and fear. It's a testament to humanity that those things happen but unfortunate that it sometimes takes a tragedy before they do.
This morning I read a quote on a friend's facebook page (thanks, Abby!) I'd read the words many times before, they tend to resurface around this time each year as they were spoken just days before the attacks. They were prophetic then and continue to be. And in light of all I'm going through at the moment, they were words I needed to hear.
I come to you tonight with a plea that we stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight. I am suggesting that as we go through life that we try to "accentuate the positive." I am asking that we look a little deeper for the good, that we still our voices of insult and sarcasm, that we more generously compliment virtue and effort. I am not asking that all criticism be silenced. Growth comes of correction. Strength comes of repentance. Wise is the man or woman who can acknowledge mistakes pointed out by others and change his or her course.
What I am suggesting is that you turn from the negativism that so permeates our modem society and look for the remarkable good among those with whom you associate, that we speak of one another's virtues more than we speak of one another's faults, that optimism replace pessimism, that our faith exceed our fears. When I was a young man and was prone to speak critically my wise father would say: "Cynics do not contribute, skeptics do not create, doubters do not achieve."
...I am not suggesting that you simply put on rose-colored glasses to make the world about you look better. I ask, rather, that you look above and beyond the negative, the cynical, the critical, the doubtful, to the positive and the affirmative.
(Gordon B. Hinckley, CES Fireside, September 9, 2001.) To read the full address go here.
Words of wisdom, and ones that I am trying to live by more fully than I have been.
I'm grateful for those who live the examples of goodness, particularly in trying times. For those who remind us through word and deed what is important. And for those who stand by to lift and support those of us who falter. No matter our circumstances there is goodness around us and goodness within us. May we all be reminded of that truth and never forget.