One of the first literacy skills young children learn is sequence. They listen to stories and identify that GOOD stories have a BEGINNING, a MIDDLE, and an END. The beginning and end are typically very easy for them to identify after listening to a story. They have differences of opinion about where the middle is, and what “middle” means. Sometimes they confuse “middle” with “conflict”. Good readers become good writers through practice. When you ask children to write stories, their beginnings and ends are distinct and quick. You teach them connecting words like First, Next, Then, and Last. Their middles meander, and that’s ok. It gives them time to make sure that the GOOD guys win.
It’s strange because we all know when the Beginning began. One day we all had plans and the next, they were vaporized. It seems as though we all had our own variation of “that moment” when you knew. It was that moment when the cosmic winds made the hair on your neck stand up. I was at my son’s Varsity baseball game. As is normal, some seniors are starting players, some are not. I looked up to see the coach call time out, and all of the seniors headed out to the field to play the rest of the game. That was when I knew. The school had texted the coach mid-inning and baseball would be cancelled for the foreseeable future. Everything would be cancelled for the foreseeable future. That was the beginning for me.
Next, there was a scramble and collective stumbling into the Middle of Uncertainty. We were accustomed to our illusions of rhythm, routine, predictability. Now we are left with a bumper crop of question marks. Question marks that are coupled with isolation and are replete with anxiety. The isolation is dark. The scramble has been exhausting.
We find ourselves in a terrifying, uncertain, meandering middle, don’t we? And to be honest, it’s hard to talk about, or write about GOOD when there is so much unimaginable suffering. None of us has a How-To Global Pandemic Book that we can pull off of the shelf. So being dogged in identifying and seeing the GOOD must be tempered with sensitivity. Many cannot find GOOD right now. We find ourselves concurrently reading and writing our story in real time, asking each day, “is this really happening?" We are looking, craning our necks, to find the GOOD guys.
The GOOD news is that GOOD is everywhere. Look at the GOOD medical workers, grocery employees, community helpers—their GOOD is relentless and fearless. We’ve seen the snaking carlines of people seeking food met with people who organize and fill their need. We see drive-by celebrations and birthdays. We see church choirs gathering in the street, six feet apart, to sing hymns to mourners in lieu of a funeral. Grandparents are doing what the have to in order to see their newborn grandchildren for the first time through glass doors. We see ubiquitous clapping and cheering from balconies in big cities all in thanksgiving for the GOOD.