Sunday, March 31, 2013

Carl Mays: Good news warms the cockles of the heart

Carl Mays, speaker and author in his own words.
My wife Jean really likes to read or view “good news stories,” and quite frequently shares them with me – like she did this morning.
Jean told about how a golfer in Florida saw a pelican on the course and noticed a fish hook embedded in the bird. So, with some difficulty, the golfer removed the hook and set the bird free to go its way. However, the pelican’s “way” turned out to be that of following the golfer who removed the hook and decreased the pain.
Jean saw the story on television, which showed the pelican following the golfer around – and even riding with him in a golf cart. This was one appreciative bird!
I wrote about the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh in a recent column, and quoted from a letter he sent to his brother Theo about the value of relationships: “Like everyone else, I have need of relationships, of friendship or affection or trusting companionship, and am not like a lamp post...” In the pelican story, the golfer reached out to the injured bird; Theo reached out to Vincent when many others would not.
When Jean shared the pelican story, she began by saying, “I have two good news stories.” Her second story was about a husband and wife who visited a humane shelter to adopt a dog. They narrowed their choice to two, who just happened to be in adjoining cages, before finally deciding on a yellow lab.
The couple’s fond attachment to the lab grew quickly, but a few days later when the husband took out the trash the lab shot through the open door and bolted away. The lab was found 10 miles away – at the humane shelter – licking the face of his next-door soul mate. The couple ended up with two dogs.

Good news warms the cockles of the heart – especially when bad news often permeates today’s media. But bad news is nothing new. Listening to an “oldies” radio station, I heard an announcer introduce “The Merry Minuet” (recorded by the Kingston Trio in 1959) with the words, “A fitting song for yesterday and today.”
Some lyrics excerpted from the song go this way: “They’re rioting in Africa. They’re starving in Spain. There’s hurricanes in Florida, and Texas needs rain. The whole world is festering with unhappy souls. The French hate the Germans. The Germans hate the Poles. Italians hate Yugoslavs. South Africans hate the Dutch, and I don’t like anybody very much!”
I remember well another song that is “fitting for yesterday and today.” Recorded in 1983 by Anne Murray, “A Little Good News” expresses despair over all of the violence, suffering and negativity people read about in newspapers and see on television, and declares how great it would be if, for just one day, the newspapers and television news had nothing bad to report because “nothing bad happened today.”
Some lyrics from this song include: “... Just once how I’d like to see the headline say. ... ‘Nobody robbed a liquor store on the lower part of town, nobody OD’ed, nobody burned a single building down. Nobody fired a shot in anger, nobody had to die in vain...’ We sure could use a little good news today.”
During this lifetime, Anne Murray’s wish will never materialize in America or in the world. However, we can take steps to make it materialize in our own homes, in our workplace and in other places where we encounter people.
Husbands/wives, parents/children, co-workers/management, customers/employees, teachers/students – all relationships can be enhanced, beginning with positive thoughts, words, actions and reactions from you and me. We don’t always have to agree with one another in order to be agreeable with one another. We can be “good news” for one another.