One Friend to Another: Seeing Goodness

Smiling in the Snow

By coloneljohnbritt Flickr Creative Commons

It started with a snowstorm.

During a blizzard – the kind of storm that has recently been happening oh-too-frequently for those of us living in the Boston area – a mother of six wanted to do something fun for her kids, “and wouldn’t you know it, Ice Cream for Breakfast seemed liked the best idea.”

Jason Downer’s post about my new favorite holiday not only connects with what other guys at the The Jesuit Post have been writing in the past month but also gives me food for thought 1 for how to respond to stuff that, well, blows — literally, as I look outside my window.

The Boston Globe had a graphic last week comparing the recent snowfall to the height of Boston sports stars. The snow completely covers Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia and is ominously preparing to cover the head of Rob Gronkowski. Sure enough, after our most recent storm, it now has even covered seven-foot Celtics center Kelly Olynyk.

I can’t control the snowfall or the gray days or the commuting headaches. But I can choose how I respond. I can try to see the bigger picture. I can be like that mom who, faced with a recipe for disaster, looked around, opened the freezer, and created a delicious tradition.2

***

Seeing beyond initial disappointment or imperfection has been a common theme on TJP this month.

Cyril Pinchak isn’t Brad Pitt or a saint, but he is Cyril Pinchak. While it is normal to compare the beauty of others with our “limitations we know all too well,” he writes that “the effect of finding beauty at the limits doesn’t have to end in limitation.”

Ice Cream Face

By Tim Norris / Flickr CC

Eric Immel isn’t going to win any spelling bees, and he never earned the penmanship award. He’s also made some mistakes that are bigger than just adding an extra E in judgment. But, with the proper vision, one can see that while mistakes are part of us, “there is always more.”

Moralizing Super Bowl commercials were understandably met with skepticism, and while acknowledging that companies aren’t purely altruistic when they’re paying $9 million/minute, Joe Simmons welcomes “the calls to strive for our best collective self” and notes how “spreading the Good News involves searching for allies, even in the most unlikely places.”

Striving for excellence generally isn’t a bad thing, except when it obscures that which is real. “Authenticity may always be imperfect and incomplete, but it will always at least be,” notes Keith Maczkiewicz. There just may be goodness in what initially seems less-than-perfect.

Even in the middle of tremendous personal loss, Damian Torres-Botello sees God “in the face of every person who has held my hand since.”

***

Today, we celebrate a day that is a little more widely practiced than Ice Cream for Breakfast: Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent.

Some years, I give up something for Lent;3 other times, I try to do something positive. This year, however, my main hope is to see — really see.

Others on TJP have described how so frequently there is much good beyond the surface if I give it the time and remove my skeptical glasses.

And sure, it’s still snowy and cold outside, though it’s also cold in my freezer; delicious goodness awaits.

  1. Sorry, I normally find puns painful, but I couldn’t resist.
  2. This woman isn’t unique. I love random facts and heard years ago that Alaskans consume more ice cream per capita than any other state. I just tried to confirm that now and found inconsistent answers. I’m going to file this away in my “even if it’s not true it should be” folder and say that Alaskans eat the most.
  3. I have previously written about giving up ESPN for Lent. Uh, it sounds like a good idea, and it would certainly save me some time, but with the Cavs winning 14 of their last 16 games, I just… can’t.

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