When Good Things Happen to Good People
Look, I know I am lucky. I have a roof over my head, I have a car to transport me, I have a steady income, and I get to spend my days and nights with the love of my life. I also acknowledge my “privilege” – a term used often these days to refer to those who have a built-in “advantage” in life to make things easier (my definition, not Webster’s): I am white, I am an American, I am straight, I have no disability, and I am middle class.
So I am lucky. And, dare I say it, I think I am good. As in, a good person. I have a kind heart, I think of others (often before myself, though I am working on that…), and I am caring. And do you know what I think? I think that, contrary to the saying and the popular book title, that sometimes GOOD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE.
Not BECAUSE they are good, mind you. And I am not saying that only good things happen to good people. I have had plenty of shitty things befall me. My mom died when I was relatively young. My basement once flooded and my washer and dryer (and everything else down there) were floating in sewage. I have wrecked a car. I spend at least 3 weeks every year panicking that my main source of income will evaporate with a pink slip. So see – BAD THINGS do happen to me, but somehow it seems more good than bad…
I have been thinking about this a lot lately. What got me started considering it was when someone close to me said to my face, “I wish I had your life”. Wow – even said in passing – that is a powerful thing to ponder. Is my life so wonderful, so fantastic, that someone covets it? I am not rich. I do not live a lavish lifestyle. But I LOVE LIFE.
And the more I thought about it, the more “good things” I kept remembering... The whole starfish I found on a beach on New Year’s Day. How I got to live on a barge in Paris. How we got very-difficult-to-get cheap “Book of Mormon” tickets. How I somehow happened on the career that fits me just right. How I ended up playing the role of Mary in a drive-thru Bethlehem. How I got interviewed for TV dressed in a cow costume. How we stumbled upon seeing a Broadway show on the very same day, the only day, Sir Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart were serving hot cocoa to the audience members…
When I examine those (and zillions of other) GOOD THINGS that keep happening to me, the thing I find in common is that I LET THEM HAPPEN. I open myself up to the experiences and I TAKE NOTE of them. My belief is that good experiences are all around us. Heck, they probably outweigh the bad, which is why I keep finding them! They do not come to those who are lucky. They do not come to those that pray for them. They come to those that NOTICE THEM.
I FOUND the starfish because I decided to take a long walk, even though it was cold, rainy, and windy. I opened myself to the experience – and I SAW it (both literally, the starfish, and figuratively, the experience as a whole). I drank hot cocoa served to me by super heroes because I put myself out there, got up early, and waited in line for tickets (and as fate would have it was in the right place at the right time). I got interviewed for tv because I opened myself up to the experience of putting on a ridiculous costume, squeezing in with thousands of people on the National Mall, and having fun.
I think amazingly good things are everywhere. Somehow I must have a special eye to see them, and I am so happy I can!!!
So yeah – more shitty stuff will happen to me. People I love will get sick and die. I may end up left alone. I probably will never win the lottery. And my roof will eventually leak…
But soooo much good, cool stuff will happen, too. Homeless men will play my requested song on a recorder/flute (I know this will happen, because it already has once!). I will take a photo or write a piece that gets published somewhere. I will have a tree that bears citrus fruit. I will swim in a warm pool in the pitch black night with millions of stars shining over my head.
And I will have these good things happen to me, a good person, because I will be open to them. I will breathe in the experiences. And I will notice them.
Don’t trade lives with anyone. Keep your own life – and NOTICE the good. Celebrate it. Make it yours! Let good things happen to good people.