There’s a lot of bad news out there. If it bleeds it leads, they say.
Most news outlets give you 20 minutes of depression and then warm you up in the last 3-4 minutes with an inspiring human interest story. I don’t run a news station.
I do, however, have a little blog with a halfway decent following and the potential to reach a ton of people through online sharing. So I’m introducing Good News Friday, a place where you’ll only get good news. I hope it makes you smile, or laugh, or feel something good. If it does, share it.
We could all use a little more good news in our lives.
Today’s story is about the time I missed the bus.
It’s also a story about family.
Until I was 8, I lived about fifteen miles from the middle of nowhere. My school was a long bus ride away — so long, in fact, that I had a connecting stop at another school where I switched busses to get the rest of the way home.
My sister attended the school where I’d switch. The first half of the ride, she wasn’t on my bus. She was always on my second bus when I got on.
One day, and I don’t remember the circumstances, my bus arrived at my connecting school and I went inside. Maybe I had to use the bathroom. Maybe I was confused. Maybe some teacher didn’t know who I was and instead of corralling me toward my bus she sent me inside the building. I was like 6, so I don’t recall.
What I do remember is that when I went back outside to catch my bus (I at least had the good sense to know I wasn’t in the right place), my bus was gone.
Like any young kid, I sort of freaked out. Here I was, in the middle of nowhere, still fifteen miles from home. My only ride had already left. My sister was nowhere to be found. Cell phones didn’t exist. I was stuck.
I nervously looked around for teachers, one of whom recognized I was out of place. Through my clenched jaw and increasingly burning eyes, she saw I had a dilemma. I managed to mutter that I’d missed my bus.
The teacher (these were different times), whisked me away into her personal vehicle. It was a tiny town, and the bus made a few stops within the city limits before starting it’s slow crawl to the county line where we lived.
We spotted the bus crossing some railroad tracks, and my teacher flagged it down. I hopped out and shuffled over to the bus. Junior Kramer (why I still remember my bus driver’s name, I have no idea) opened the accordion door and I got on.
I was embarrassed. I stuck out like a sore thumb. I know now that probably less than five people even noticed me as I boarded, but I felt like the whole bus wasn’t just watching, but they were laughing and pointing and condemning. That’s just how we feel at that age when we’re singled out.
I scanned the bus seats and only a couple rows back on the left hand side sat my sister. We didn’t speak a word. We just met eyes. She saw my fear. I senses some relief on her part. I walked toward her. She swung her legs out in the aisle, making room for me to flop down by the window, shielded by her presence from the perceived threat of my fellow passenger’s judgment. I choked back tears, having dodged a bullet of abandonment that afternoon. I was heading home, safe and sound, sister by my side.
This is a story about missing the bus. But that’s not good news.
This is also a story about family. That is good news.
When I was a kid I fought with my sister. She would trick and tease and tempt me to disobey. I would pester and prod and provoke her to anger. Living where we lived, we were each other’s most convenient adversary.
Living where we lived, we were each other’s most constant friend.
And no matter where we lived then, or where we’ve lived since, we’ve been family.
We don’t talk all that often. We don’t text each other all the time. But you’d better believe we’re family. And that’s a good thing. Because one day I missed my bus, and without speaking a word my sister made me feel like I was safe again, and it only took her about two seconds. I’m sure later that day I was annoying to her. I’m sure later that week she teased me mercilessly.
But when I needed her most, she was there. She got it. She didn’t point and laugh, she let me in. She was by my side. It was a small gesture — yet one that nearly 30 years later is vivid and meaningful in my life.
The weekend is coming. It’s Friday. Play a board game with your kids. Take your wife on a date. Take a road trip with a close friend. Make a phone call you haven’t made in a while. Text a mentor and thank them. E-mail a friend and let them know you’re thinking of them.
The more present we are, the more available we make ourselves to one another, the more good news we’ll make together — and the more good news we’ll be able to share.