“Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice.” – Psalm 112:5
In his newest book The Second Mountain New York Times columnist David Brooks tells a marvelous story about Kathy and David and their son Santi who attends public school in Washington, D.C. “Santi had a friend named James,” Brooks writes, “who sometimes went to bed hungry, so Santi invited him to occasionally sleep over at his house. James had a friend and that kid had a friend and so on. Now if you go to Kathy and David’s house on any given Thursday night there will be about twenty-six kids sitting around the dinner table. There are generally four or five living with Kathy and David or with other families nearby. Every summer Kathy and David round up a caravan and take about forty kids out of the city for a vacation on Cape Cod. Simply by responding to the needs around them, Kathy and David are now at the center of a sprawling extended family.”
One morning over breakfast recently with the newspaper spread out between us, Tee and I suddenly were overcome with the same emotion. “Enough!” we shouted to each other, “enough of these ugly headlines, the violence, the scandal, corruption, and political dysfunction!” These are not the kinds of people we know, we said. No! We’re surrounded by good people, like Kathy and David and Santi – selfless, compassionate, generous, loving, kind, who care for their families, reach out to those in need, good neighbors and committed citizens. We encounter them every day. Never mind the grand schemes promised by the political class, we decided then and there; for it is the “better angels” as Lincoln would say, the millions of good folks across our nation and around the world like Kathy and David, who are the ones that make a difference, who hold the world upright and keep it turning on its axis. Always have, and always will.
The Psalmist had something to say about such people. “Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely,” he writes, “who conducts his affairs with justice. Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever. He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.”
If we’ve had enough of the headlines, we concluded that morning, then we best follow the example of Kathy and David and Santi, as part of that great army of “better angels.”