This week I went to the gym.

Before you roll you eyes, take note that I had already dressed for the day (including curling my hair!) so I was simply sitting and reading my Kindle while the 6 kids under my care got their psychotic energy out.

I had situated myself in an area outside of the basketball gym where several of my charges were slamming and swooshing to their hearts content.  As I read my book something caught my eye. Coming out of the big kids gym ran a little teacup of a girl. She zipped past me and climbed the stool to the water fountain where she was still too tiny to reach her drink. I looked around to see if any adult had followed her out (nobody had), and as I turned back to little girl I found that another woman had walked over to her and asked her if she needed help reaching the water. After she had finished lifting the little girl up for a drink, the lady asked her, “Where are your parents?”

Upon receiving no answer, she looked over and asked me if I knew where she had come from. I explained that she had run out of the gym, and the woman took the little one by the hand, led her back into the basketball courts, and presumably found and reunited her with her absent guardian.

Point of this story? That woman was NICE. She took time out of her workout to help a little one and make sure she was safe. Not everyone would do that…but she did because she was just plain NICE!

(I would have gotten up and checked on the kiddo if needed….I promise!)

This world is harsh. Crazy. Tough.
Somedays it seems downright mean and nasty. Watch the news for more than three minutes and you’re left shaken and terrified by what can happen.
Wars, terrorist attacks, floods, famine, tornadoes, shootings….it’s hard to take honestly.
Seems like any direction you look you can see something that hurts your heart.

For all the bad in the world….there’s good too.
For all the awful people….there are good ones too.

That lady at the Y? She was good. That situation could have ended so so horribly differently. But a kind lady, a caring person made the difference.

Last week a lady whose BLOG I follow wrote about how she took her large family to the mall. She has several kids with severe special needs, 2 in wheelchairs, and was taking a long time to finish her family’s Christmas shopping. After spending many hours touring the stores allowing the kids to pick out gifts they were approached by a woman. Without a word this lady handed them a roll of money, nodded her head, and went on her way. Then, another woman gave them more moeney with express instructions to spend it on a special dinner for the family, and yet another kind soul handed them a big tin of cookies.

Good people. Kind people.

A police officer learns of a family in need, and rallies enough support to supply them with groceries for a month. A man learns of a bunch of old dogs who need homes and ends up adopting a whole pack of them. A waitress buys lunch for parents mourning the loss of their child.

There are people in this world who are truly good. Some of them seek out opportunities to serve others, and some simply rise to the occasion when a need presents itself. Either way….their hearts are visible through their actions. Look around. These people exist. In the midst of a scary chaotic world…they shine.

Have you seen them? Can you remember their stories? Seriously, in almost any situation on any given day if you stop and think about it I bet you can recognize a JPGP.  (That’s “Just Plain Good Person” for all you non-tech savvy folk….or for all of y’all who know I make things up and want to know what I’m talking about.)

They’re the ones rushing in when others are scurrying out.
They’re the ones holding up traffic to let a family of geese make it safely across the road.
They’re the ones who pay for your coffee in the Starbucks drive-through.
They’re the ones who help an older lady get something off the top shelf, and then help her load it into her car.
They’re the ones buying an extra meal in a to-go box and delivering it to the guy on the corner.

While you go about your normal day, chances are you’ll encounter a moment when things don’t go super smoothly. It may be a genuine crisis, or it may just be a typical outing to Wal-Mart. Etiher way, pause for a second and take a good look around. Do you see that JPGP? Can you spot them?

If so…then smile. You’ve found the good.
If not…then smile. It’s your chance to BE the good.

Help that young mom untangle the carts so she can put her screaming 2 year old into one….
Bring your neighbor’s trashcan back up to their house before they get home….
Give your umbrella to the guy using a cardboard “Need Help” sign to keep the rain off his back…
Drop a box of cupcakes at the doorstep of someone you know has had a hard week…

Truth? Sometimes being the good feels even better than seeing the good.

This world can always use a little more kindness. A little more compassion. A little more good-in-action.

So seek out a chance to be a JPGP. Or, when the chance jumps out at you and stares you right in the eyes, pause in your own schedule and just do some good. Either way, you’ll soften some hearts. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll inspire someone else to do something similar.




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