My 15-year internet career choice of focusing on good news has become a philosophy for the rest of my life. I came to realize how important it was to focus on good stuff all around me — in my own house, in my children.
To mark the website’s 15th anniversary, I launched a contest called “What ‘Good News’ Means to Me”. I now have my four winners to whom we will be delivering four fantastic prizes this week.
Tennessean Shelley Davis-Wise, of Nashville, submitted the winning essay, “The Gift of Good News”. She said, after receiving the email notifying her about the prize, “When I read my words again I am struck by how true they are for me. They have disarmed me in a way they did not when I wrote them. I am weeping.”
“Literally, when I saw the call for entries I just sat down and opened my heart and this was what came out.”
Second place goes to Carole Sargent of Georgetown University for her story about morning telephone conversations with her mother. The third prize will be awarded to Nicola Vernon from South Africa for his beautiful ocean analogy and fourth prize to Sharon Clark, who is now cancer-free and ever cognizant of how positive stories can influence her health. Thanks to everyone who entered the contest. They were all very inspiring.
I will feature the next 3 winning stories in coming weeks. Congratulations to Shelley, whose fantastic essay appears below — she even used a word I didn’t know!
The Gift of Good News – If it bleeds it leads.
By Shelley Davis-Wise
It’s common knowledge that drama sells newspapers and gets viewers’ attention nowadays. I am inundated with drama and tragedy and fear and sadness when I just want to find out what’s going on in the world. Yes, I get it, the world can be a scary and dangerous place to be. Bad things happen. I need to be careful.
Unless I am participating in this reality, I am likely to miss it. Often I am swept away by the clamor of this war or that election. I can become instantly cynical and although I may feel righteous, I am also fearful. When I am fearful, I am liable to take action that harms others for which my only reward is regret.
We have a hopeful Creator. In the midst of this chaos and pain, our Creator allows us to persist and try to get it right. This does not happen in some grand, sweeping gesture; it is quotidian, ordinary, and persistent. Heroes are forged on the anvil of inspiration in the moment of greatest need. Most often, this takes place without a camera crew in tow. Humility does not announce itself; the true hero does not have a professional publicist. They do what they do for neither money nor fame. It is much more profound. The Hero’s true reward is the certainty that he has made a positive difference in another being’s life. The Hero’s true reward is that she has set in motion a ripple of goodness and love and life into the universe – and whether she knows it or not, she and countless others will benefit, whether directly or indirectly, from her small act of hope. Everyone becomes a better person for it.
Good News is my reminder that the bleak world constructed for me (which I have at times helped to fabricate) is not THE truth. I need to be reminded that not everyone is the rotten person who manipulates and steals from old people or who knowingly underreports toxins in waste water.
There ARE people who stick up for the underdog and would do it whether anyone noticed or not. There ARE people who think of others’ welfare and work for it and fight for it. There ARE people standing against the persistent tide of hate and fear.
I need to know this — some days more than others. I need a reason to hope. I need to know that there are still heroes in the world. This is the gift of Good News.