On the Side of the Good

Celebrating and seeking all things on the Side of the Good. Humanity at its Best.

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All You Gotta Do Is Try..

Maybe for you it was Duckie dancing in Pretty in Pink. Maybe it was the Jimmie Durante version. For me it was listening the radio while floating in a pool on a Saturday night in the summertime. For my kids, their first encounter was Donkey convincing Shrek to woo Fiona. I’m not sure which one is your favorite version, or when you first heard it, but for me the ONLY version of “Try a Little Tenderness” is the Otis Redding one, recorded at Stax Records in 1966. How can you beat that soul? How can you sit still listening to it? He’s not just asking, he’s BEGGING us: TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS.

Oh she may be weary… We all get weary in our own little corner of the world. I am certain that many of us have grown weary in our shared world, too. I have great concern that we are getting overwhelmed and desensitized by the string of bad events. One manufactured controversy is offered in order to take our eyes off of another more serious matter. And the real tragedies fail to shock us anymore. I fear our hearts are getting numb, or worse, hardened.

Just anticipating… So many people I talk to are anticipating a turn in the tide—a turn to reason, logic, and peace. They seek simple, common decency and an end to prevalent hostility. More importantly, they are waiting for the GOOD that we do to multiply and at least, for a moment, have a respite from the barrage of bad news. But I’m not sure we can just wait for it to happen on its own.

Soft words, they are spoke so gentle… It would be easier to throw up our hands and say, “there’s nothing we can do.” In fact, there is MUCH to do. It’s not foolish to think that our own gentle acts of goodness have a rippling effect. Our words matter, but our tone matters more. The majority of the content of the messages we give to one another is the tone we choose. A gentle tone is not equivalent to a weak message. A gentle tone is the portal to connection and understanding. As silly as it may seem, smile before you answer the phone the next time it rings, no matter whose number pops up on your caller ID. See how differently the conversation unfolds. Try it.

Try a little tenderness… It’s easy to be tender to those we love. It’s not as easy to show tenderness to someone we disagree with or to a stranger, but we are in desperate need for an attempt. Otis begs of us, “it’s all so easy, all you gotta do is try…” Try a little tenderness in rush hour traffic. Try a little tenderness when you speak to the worker at the deli counter who is looking out at sea of customers. Try tenderness with your co-workers. Try a little tenderness with someone with whom you disagree. Smile before you speak. It’s not futile. Those who are the most difficult to love, or the most difficult for YOU to love, need your love the most. We have to start somewhere. We have to attack it with the same wild abandon of Duckie’s dancing. We cannot shake our heads in resignation. We cannot lose that soul. We cannot sit still. You won’t regret it, no no. Take this advice…

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