Thursday, June 20, 2013

'Celebrate what's right with the world'

Deadline day is done and I'm eased back on the couch, enjoying a Coke and the Tigers/Red Sox game on the TV. Jennifer's superb spaghetti is resting comfortably in my stomach.

Summertime, and the livin' is easy.

It's going down so well I didn't even mind the leadership training class I had to attend today. Actually, it was pretty neat.

Steve, our leader, showed us a clip from a "CBS Sunday Morning" segment about a guy who decided to clean up the Mississippi River. Couches, cans, bowling balls, he hauls it all out in his boat. His enthusiasm is so infectious he's recruited hundreds of volunteers.

Steve also screened a segment by a National Geographic photographer. In addition to showing us scenery that makes you thankful to be living on the third planet from the sun, the photographer imparted some words of wisdom.

My favorite:

"Celebrate what's right with the world and not wallow in what's wrong with it."

So true on a number of levels. It reminds me of the story of the guy who's rescued at sea and asks why the boat didn't get there sooner.

Don't let the daily headlines fool you. There's plenty right with the world.

I think about Doug Kose, the guy about whom I'm writing for the newspaper column next week. Doug decided to leave his dream job in marketing at UT to become chief executive officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee. Now, he's helping kids who didn't have much hope.

I think about the three-year-old child I saw on the news tonight. Thanks to cutting-edge technology he recently heard his father's voice for the first time. You should have seen the look on his face. But don't take my word for it. Watch the video.

I think about Catfish Dave, a firefighter who was forced to retire after suffering a heart attack. Rather than sit and stew about it, Dave came home to Halls, a fishing pole in one hand and a banjo in the other. He told me that his biggest decision each day is deciding which one to pick up. You know how he chooses?

"I flip a coin."

The best part is I've managed to get paid for nearly 13 years now to tell such tales. My dream was to making a living herding words. Darned if I didn't figure out how to do it.

Sometimes you have to write a column you don't want to write. Sometimes you have to make people mad. But my heart lies with something I heard Charles Kuralt say once.

"It does no harm, every once in awhile, to acknowledge that the whole world isn't in flames, that there are people in this country besides politicians, entertainers and criminals."

Celebrate what's right with the world. Life's too short to wallow in what's wrong with it.


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