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Don't Rush Me

Hopefully I'll hear the bells on Christmas Day

December 19, 2012 - Peace on earth and good will to men.

This holiday season was kinda mucked up last week because of a whack job in Connecticut. Before the whack job went on his rampage, I already had a column written for this week. My column was gonna' be about the end of the world, Dec. 21, 2012. But, I kinda figured it could have been seen as insensitive. So, scrap one column, think of another.

And, I got to thinking -- well, thinking a couple of things. One, the ancillary thing is, yep there is crazy in the world and yep, there is evil, too. More importantly, however, there is goodness on this earth and even in this country. Unfortunately, goodness doesn't get good play.

Every day, little acts of kindness go on, with nary a blink of an eye. Everyday, acts of bravery, compassion and courage are carried off by one person for another. We don't concentrate on acts of mercy or humility, but we sure as the dickens dwell on evil perpetrated by one or some on one or others. I get it, it's news.

But here is the thing about news that most folks forget: News is only news because it is not the norm, it is different, out of the ordinary -- and therefore is reported. I think we forget that.

As adults, I think we also forget to "report" on acts of love. Instead, we fall into the easy action of regurgitating whatever we hear on the news. Lazily we throw back the bad news without a thought or a balance of good.

Admit it, it's easier to be a Negative Nelly or Donny Downer when sitting around the kitchen table talking with family. Bad things and gossip are just more fun.

If I were to suggest one thing -- how we, one family and home at a time -- can start to make a positive difference, it would be this: Stop the gossiping and then balance the negative with the good.

* * *

One of my favorite Christmas hymns is I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day and for some reason the song that kept on playing in my head this past weekend (Frank Sinatra version).

I reckoned there was a reason my subconscious thought about it. So, I googled it and here is what I discovered. Did you know the song was written on Christmas Day, 1864 by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. And the interesting part, the poem was penned as the American Civil war raged on.

How could that be? In the midst of all the death and turmoil, how could this man find the hope in his soul to put those beautiful words together?

I heard the bells on Christmas day

Their old familiar carols play,

And wild and sweet the words repeat

Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And thought how, as the day had come,

The belfries of all Christendom

Had rolled along the unbroken song

Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Till ringing, singing on its way

The world revolved from night to day,

A voice, a chime, a chant sublime

Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head

"There is no peace on earth," I said,

"For hate is strong and mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

The wrong shall fail, the right prevail

With peace on earth, good will to men

* * *

What do you think? How do you find hope in the midst of despair? What makes you get up and do your best each day? How do you teach your kids to cope?

Me? I remember my mother saying, "the sun always come up." I take it to mean even the darkest hour will end, replaced by light. Maybe I'm just an optimist at heart, but if so, it's Mom's fault.

Send your thoughts about this or other topics to

Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at:
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