Category Archives: Judy Dykstra-Brown Essays

Good Still Exists Everywhere!!

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Operation Feed is a local organization that distributes food weekly to 92 families in San Juan Cosala, Jalisco, Mexico. This year they’ve added meat, fresh vegetables and fruit to the staples formerly provided.

                                                      Good Still Exists Everywhere!!!

 

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Pay It Forward.”Tell us about a time when you responded to an act of kindness with one of your own.

Today, for some reason, I did something I have never done before.  Instead of writing to this prompt, I decided to read what others had written first.  Why this was so, I don’t know.  Perhaps it was because I had the feeling many probably had that it is embarrassing to talk about this subject.  How in the world do you write about it without sounding (and being) narcissistic or self-congratulatory?  There is no way to talk about our own good acts without sounding either falsely humble or like a braggart.

I say perhaps this is the reason, because I was not even conscious of registering what the prompt was.  I just went to the first page listed on the Daily Prompt page and clicked on the first square I saw.  Unfortunately, it was at this exact moment that I got called away by Yolanda to talk about some household matter, and when I came back, I saw these words by Marilyn Armstrong:

“In Judaism, you lose points for telling anyone about your good deeds. The only ones that really count are the ones you do in secret. Pity that has never really caught on :-)”

Thinking it was her blog I was reading, I responded with this comment:

“I have never heard this before, Marilyn, but it sounds like it would make a great theme for a story or poem. I think we need to hear about the positive things that happen in the world. We are all so weighted down by the terrible ones. But perhaps the secret is to broadcast the good acts of others rather than your own. If you look at blogs like Mark’s or several others whose names have slipped my mind, they are often publicizing gross wrongs in the world and encouraging people to draft letters of protest or sign petitions or to give their support by other means. He is not blowing his own horn, but speaking out of a desire to effect change in the world. These are acts we can all see and in promoting them and him, we can spread the word of positive acts not our own. I am not disputing what you say, understand. I agree that people who constantly tell you of all their good works are irritating. On the other hand those who merely demonstrate their own good works by their actions are such wonderful role models that they have no need to blow their own horns.”

But now, the plot thickens.  After hitting the “Send” button, I scrolled up to realize that the blog I was writing on was really The happy Quitter’s blog.  The statement by Marilyn was just a comment!  So, it became necessary to fire off this comment to its author, nonsmokingladybug!

“Darn. Ladybug, I came back to my computer and saw Marilyn’s comment and thought it was her blog I was writing on so addressed this comment to her! I can’t erase it from your blog, but please do if you wish to. This is what happens when I let life interfere with blogging..Ha. I think you also requested I not give you links, which I no longer do. Your point about blowing one’s own horn is a good one as you can see from my response above. Please do erase it if you wish.”

To this, she graciously replied that she saw no reason to erase it as I’d made some good points. She went on to say, in a different comment,

“The long comment won’t matter to Marilyn, since you made it on my blog (grin).
If I might answer that. I think the world is full with good, but many of us don’t see it anymore, because their focus has shifted. Do we need to point out the good in the world? I don’t think so, I think we have to point out that it is still existing everywhere.”

to which I answered:

“What is the difference between pointing out the good in the world and pointing out that it is still existing everywhere? I think they are one and the same thing.  I get so depressed when I see the violence reported in the news, and sitting at home and merely reading about terrible act after terrible act, we are drawn into depression and deluded into thinking there is nothing we can do about it. But when we get  active on a local level, we can see firsthand what wonderful things are being done by so many–and the changes they are effecting.  These messages of how the world can be and is being healed need to get out as well. As you say, this is going on around us all the time.  This is what encourages people to try to effect changes themselves.”

I live in a community where there are incredible numbers of people–both Mexican and expat– getting involved to make life better for kids, older people and the pueblos in general.  I feel so lucky to live in a place where the positive natures of people can so easily be seen.  I know when most people see the name MEXICO, they think of cartels and corrupt politicians, but there is so much love and positive energy here as well.  These are the things we are more likely to see in our daily lives than in the news.  As you say, good is still existing everywhere.”

At this point, I realized that in these two comments I had actually written a complete blog post, so instead of sending the last comment to nonsmokingladybug, I decided to publish it here.

If you’d like to see The happy Quitter’s original statement that prompted this confused chain of messages, please go HERE.

For news of wonderful things going on in my community, you might want to read these stories:

https://judydykstrabrown.com/2014/11/02/agustins-story/
https://judydykstrabrown.com/2015/07/21/camp-estrella/
https://judydykstrabrown.com/2015/07/23/the-boy-in-the-blue-feathered-mask/
https://judydykstrabrown.com/2015/07/26/camp-estrella-final-show/


Different Thanks: JNW’s Prompt Generator

 Different Thanks

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                                                      Family Thanks Giving

Three dogs, paws up on the gate to the garage whenever I get home. The little one leaps up and down like some ballerina at the bar, the biggest with his irritating barks–loud and harsh and insistent—for whatever reason, be it mom’s arrival home or a dog who dares to pass by in the street. All of them escorting me to the door, attempting to help me with my bags and bundles.

The big dog sneaking into my room at night when she thinks I haven’t noticed. Wanting to be even closer than within eye-shot down the hall, she sleeps on the cold floor in lieu of her warm padded bed, perhaps because she wants to remind me that although the second dog is cleverer and handsomer and the newest dog is the littlest and most pleasant to have jump up on the bed with me, she was the very first and has known me for the longest. She has put up with intruders—both these two canine upstarts and the one human one who entered my house and stole my house guest’s laptop years ago when she was my one and only!

And although I am allergic to them, I wash off the licks of thanks that Morrie gives for a few cuddles on the bed before he sinks down to the foot to curl at a more hypoallergenic distance. Wash off my hands and arms after I’ve pulled off clumps of Frida’s thick undercoat. Dress the wounds that Diego’s claws have left on my legs and arms when he just can’t resist jumping up for closer contact. All of these wounds and welts and sneezes and wheezes just the aftermath of the constant thanks these kids adopted from the streets offer every day, as often as I will allow them.

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