I am an unrepentant news junkie. If I'm not getting the latest stories online, I 'm hearing them blaring from the TV in the next room. And have I introduced you to my husband, Phil? He makes me look uninformed. So, between the two of us, we're practically a 24-hour cable news station.
The downside of staying up on the news is the tremendous sadness that often accompanies it. We have all wept together in the past year over stories that have broken our hearts and shocked our consciences -- from school shootings and acts of terrorism to weather disasters and war casualties. Such an onslaught can be dispiriting, and maybe even compel us to give up hope.
I hope not. This is why I try to keep a healthy emotional balance by seeking out stories that lift our sprits and remind us all of our better natures.
At first blush, stories of decency and goodness may seem trivial when compared to the constant stream of bad news that pours forth every day. But it's just a matter of keeping perspective. For instance, would a story about a group of villagers in India banding together to save a baby elephant stop the poverty and injustices suffered by so many around the world? Of course, it wouldn't. But it might keep us from throwing in the towel.
Or what about the fast-food employee from North Carolina who turned a young girl's disastrous prom night into a dream date? That might not turn around the epidemic of bullying facing our youth today, but it goes a long way toward remembering that people are basically kind, and that we look out for each other.
And then there's the New Hampshire college athlete who gave up his beloved sport -- the shot put -- in order to save the life of a complete stranger. That might not be the miracle cure for cancer that we've all been looking for, but it certainly sends a message that sometimes love and kindness are the most powerful medicines.
While we all should continue to take a deep breath and bear the harder and sadder stories that populate the front pages of our newspapers -- and then try to do something about them -- let's all remember to feed our spirits by seeking out stories about random acts of kindness, as well. Those stories are out there -- sometimes you just have to dig a little to find them.
Take a look.