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As I may have mentioned a thousand times before on this bloggie, I’m from Jersey.  Do youse gotta prollem widat? As you can see, we have our own language.  I’m from a place that has a bit of a, shall we say, reputation.  We’re not exactly known as a warm and fuzzy place, and we may be perceived as a bit, well, brash, perhaps even veering into… obnoxious.

It doesn’t help that our governor is larger than life (although shrinking, post-bariatric surgery) and has attitude to spare.

Are we in a hurry?  Probably.  Do we have a bit of swagger in our step? I think so. But people from Jersey – in fact, people from Anywhere, USA – all want the same things out of life and, I may go out on a limb here, but hear me out: I think most people have a good heart and want to help others when they can.

A couple of weeks ago, I was receiving my monthly infusion of medication, and my nurse, Rosanne, was taking care of me.  She and all the nurses and staff at the Regional Cancer Care Center in East Brunswick* have been angels to me, making me feel like part of their family.  After my infusion was started, the husband of another patient stopped by to hand me a Dunkin Donuts Munchkin. “Oh, thank you,” I said, smiling, and he nodded pleasantly.  A few minutes later, he returned with the box.  “Go ahead,” he offered.  “Take as many as you want.”  I declined, but he persisted.  “Go on.  The nurses said we could share.”  I shook my head and he stood there, really wanting me to take another donut.  Finally I said, “I’m the one who brought them in!”

I think most people really want everyone to be happy.

There.  I said it!

I know that “Schadenfreude” is a thing now.  And that there are some people who do enjoy watching other peoples’ “fails” on YouTube.

But if given the chance, I think almost everyone will try to make a stranger’s day brighter.

Sure, if you just go by the headlines and the nightly news, you’d think most people are miscreants.  But that’s just not the case.  Even though the people doing the wrong thing are getting a lot of airtime, the ones Mister Rogers called “the Helpers” are out there too.  They’re at the Infusion Center in the hearts and hands of the nurses, the pleasant banter of the staff, the patients encouraging each other.

I may be the only person in the world who didn’t watch “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” as a child.  But recently I saw a documentary about Fred Rogers’ life, and he believed that there is always a way to find people willing to do the right thing, even during a crisis.

It doesn’t take much to be kind to someone else.  Even a donut hole that you bought yourself can taste like manna when a stranger gives it back to you. And if we all agree to try it at least once a day – hold a door for a young mother at the mall, let someone onto the elevator first – maybe there will be a cumulative effect and a whole wave of kindness will overtake the world!  Or, at the very least, your day will be better.  It’s the opposite of “Schadenfreude.”  Maybe we’ll call it “Lightenupfreude.” Could that become a thing?  It’s up to you!

*This is where I receive my Tysabri for Multiple Sclerosis.  Just so my friends don’t worry, I don’t have cancer, dear ones.  It’s just the name of the place where I receive my infusion every month.

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It was the first time I’d ever gone to Victoria’s Secret.  I wasn’t looking for some fancy frou-frou lingerie; I was just thinking it was time to get a little support in the upper regions.  So I skulked in like a tourist in a foreign land, and instantly, a sales girl approached me and attached like Velcro.

“Are all of the bras padded?” I asked naively.

She blinked twice. “Well, most are, because that’s what everyone wants.  Here are a few that aren’t.”

I held up one, and, though it was less padded, it still seemed cushiony.

“They all seem padded,” I said.

She smiled. “We prefer the term ‘lined.'”

“But if you’re not Dolly Parton, isn’t that kind of like false advertising?” I asked.

“Well, we prefer the term ‘enhancement.'”

Maybe everything in life is about the way you frame it in your mind.  If your cup doesn’t runneth over, so to speak, maybe it’s no sin to embellish your assets. And even though this analogy is kind of a stretch, maybe – like those padded bras – everything in our lives should be cushioned.  Maybe even the news should be filtered and softened so it’s easier to digest.

The word “gospel” translates to “good news.” You might not even realize that good news exists if you only look at the news programs running all day on television.  But there really are people in the world who do good things and expect no reward, like the man who lifted a car off of two injured children and didn’t wait around for recognition. I also loved the story from Guideposts Magazine about the whole town that adopted foster children, and the story of an unsung hero on the California Highway Patrol determined to save despondent people from jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.

SueBE’s wonderful post this week about a waiter who stood for what was right is an inspiration too, and Lori’s post about the beauty of kindness fed my soul in a glorious way.

Let me know if you find any positive stories about kind people doing good things.  I’d love to start my day with a nice cup of coffee, inspirational stories and a powerful dose of prayer. Now that’s an instant uplift!

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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