We spend a lot of time talking about big concepts, big goals, big ideas, big action steps, big changes, big words.
There’s a lovely, small word. It’s quiet. It’s simple. It’s friendly. It’s not ostentatious. It’s a word you might invite over to an informal dinner or a word you want to hang out with all the time. You know, that friend that isn’t too much to handle. A nice, comforting, friendly word. One that fits nicely into a normal, day to day life.
It’s “Goodness”. Goodness. A word that is the beginning of everything. It’s nice to circle back around to the beginning as we head into the time right after the resurrection. When everything is fresh and new and full of possibility. It’s a nice place to bridge back to the beginning.
In the beginning. And it was Good.
Good very quickly got overshadowed by a big, unfriendly word: sin. But let’s not talk about that today. Let’s talk about the very beginning. A new fresh start and Goodness.
Goodness is a word we don’t often bother with. Too small. Too meek. Too…boring. But then, think about the really Good company you keep. The really Good people in your life, now and before. It was, and is, really nice to keep Good company. And get cozy. Good company is comfortable company, but still stimulating company. People who challenge you, but don’t judge. People who challenge you, yet support you. People who encourage you to become who you are meant to be, even, and especially if that’s a little bit against the grain. Good, kind company.
It was Eknath Easwaran who first introduced me to Original Goodness. A reminder that in the beginning it was Good. Good was, and is, first and foremost. Good. A simple word, but a deep word. A friendly word, but powerful.
Sometimes, I think we skip over simplicity and make it all so complicated. Maybe we need simplicity…to come back to the beginning.
We come off of the Cross and death to resurrection. The death is that inevitable sadness, suffering, loss that we all must experience as human beings. It’s easy to get mired down in the heaviness of these experiences. We’ve taught ourselves to get stuck and have not taught ourselves to move beyond. We’re often still hanging out under the heavy Cross, trying to figure out sin and evil, and losing sight of Love.
It’s easy to follow the train of original sin. It’s said that during the Black Plague people would walk through the center of towns whipping themselves for the sins that had caused the plague. The hazards of original sin; we blame ourselves for…everything. Everything. And, in too many cases, we cause more harm. We feed this idea of sin as bigger than everything else. Sin is hard to escape. It’s loud and judge-y. It’s sneaky.
It’s easy to follow the masses and believe that everything is terrible and hopeless, a variation of “sin”. But what happens when we believe everything is terrible and hopeless? We become hopeless, maybe even terrible, in that we give up. Why bother? It’s hopeless. We stop trying to make things better. We’re too small, too meek, too fragile, too limited.
But good. Good seems a small and meek and fragile and limited compared to nice big, lofty words like Saint and Faith and Love and Hope. These big, wonderful words. Next to them, good seems small and plain.
Why do we focus on the bad? Sin? Why do we more easily turn toward: why are we being punished? How did “bad” become “sin”? Why is sin bigger than Good, louder than good? If we believe in Good, a Good God, a forgiving God, then isn’t it part of our duty to spread Goodness?
Nothing in our lives is bad and hopeless. Unless we choose to focus on that aspect of life. Unless we choose to focus on what we could have done better or wish we had done differently. Unless we choose to focus on the grief and sadness and loss and close our eyes to new life and joy. Goodness is our choice. If bad is sin, then goodness is Love.
Goodness. It’s a simple word. Not lofty. Just a simple word. It’s power is that we can easily do Good things. And a lotta little Goods add up to a lotta Goodness. Shine a light on Good in everyone, not the bad. Light the spark that helps another person to practice Goodness. Notice what you love in other people, what you see as Good. Feed Goodness in yourself and others.
Goodness isn’t hard, but it’s by simply being good, doing the next right thing, that we overcome the big evils of the world. That we say, we will not be mired down in the idea that the world is a terrible place, but we will look at the gift it is to be alive. The Beauty in all of Creation. The gifts we have been given in big and small ways…the people we have and will love and do love.
The power of Good Company is that it brings out Good and helps us to notice more good around us. What is it they say? Seek and you shall find? What are we seeking? Do we notice the cranky customer service representative and talk about that at the dinner table that evening, or the lovely smile that random stranger offered? Do we notice the garbage on the side of the road and talk about that…or do we notice the gentle hand picking it up?
Finding, seeking, being Good.
The power of Goodness is to shift our focus to gratitude for all that we have, that we’ve experienced, what we love. Perhaps, Goodness is the power of love in action.
Goodness. It’s simple. Keep it simple. Do the next right thing. Be Good. Seek Good. Do Good. Good is simple enough that it’s not fed by ego and glory. It is simple and pure.
Focus on Good, because Good is the very beginning of everything and it bridges everything by being love in action. Simple Goodness.
God looked around and saw that it was Good.
Mini Prayer: Allow gratitude to remind you of Goodness. This week’s simple prayer is: Thank You.