Where’d All the Good People Go?

Lately, I’ve been feeling something brewing inside me. No it’s not my stomach churning, but something much bigger than I can fully grasp. I feel a ray of light vanquishing the darkness that has resided within. The light is softening the jagged edges, and melting the cold exterior of my heart. More and more, I’ve found myself rooting for people instead of shunning their shallow actions. I am beginning to hope again.  I am no longer bogged in a cloud of fog, I can see the light guiding me where I need to go.

After a bout of disappointments and exposure to the depravity happening around me, I became jaded and cold. I was forced to attend Catholic school for years, and as a result I’ve grown apathetic towards religion. I’ve lost faith in people’s capacity to do good without recognition. When I was growing up, I was surrounded with people that kept calling themselves Christians and Catholics. I didn’t really understand why they had to keep saying that its, “The Christian thing to do.” Why can’t it just be the right thing to do? I am not dismissing Christians or Catholics, but why is there a need to label an act of goodness and garner recognition for it?

It seemed like the only times people were doing good is if they knew someone else was watching, otherwise they just continued on with their lives. It seemed like what people valued were the things that were easily seen and recognized, things with labels and marks rendering them to be good. “I am good because I am a Christian,” rather than “I am a Christian because I am good.” It felt like people were veered towards religion to fit under the umbrella term leading towards their personal salvation. It seemed like the genuine motivation and intent behind the action was absent. They were doing good for recognition and to escape the damnation of hell, instead of doing it for the sake of simply doing good. This was my naive mind becoming more exposed to the bitter realities of the world.

So instead of dealing with reality, I turned to books for inspiration. Only through the pages of Steinbeck, Faulkner, and Miller could I find characters that had the right mindset and fortitude to resist the slippery slope of depravity. If I modeled myself after these characters, then I knew I would be okay regardless of the situation I am facing. The books I read set the moral compass guiding me whenever I felt lost, they were the bursts of inspiration motivating me to keep going despite the dark days. They became models of what I aspired to be.

However as of late, I’m seeing more and more that there are still people that commit acts of kindness around them without needing the recognition for their acts. I’ve seen people lending their electricity to the victims of the storm, people volunteering their time without the need for a photo-op, and people simply lending a hand to those that have fallen. You don’t see these people being featured in the front page of the newspaper, nor can you see their faces in shiny magazines or tv shows. They are just everyday people doing little things for others without thinking twice about what they’ll lose as a result. It’s the little things that add up to the composition of a person; its what a person does when no one is looking that truly defines a him/her.

I know that these people are not without their faults, they are not characters butreal people. But if people like these still exist, then there’s hope. There’s hope that one day everyone else will just find themselves doing little acts of kindness for the sake doing them. I think that its the unconscious act that you find yourself doing that measure who you are. The Samaritans become triggers to inspire change, and collectively I think we’ll get there. I know that my life has been affect by them, and I hope there are others out there that feel the same. Maybe I no longer need to turn to books to look for inspiration, maybe I should just look around. Now whenever I ask myself, “Where’d all the good people go?” I’ll know that the answer is that they’re among us. They don’t just reside in pages of books, but they live among us without the label of being good people, but just as people doing good.

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