COLUMN NUMBER FIVE

Avatar_DavidBentley So far this week, I’ve written four columns. They were preachy and did not inspire me or anyone else. It is always quite easy to point out what is wrong with the world. It is far more difficult to find a glimmer of hope that people can latch onto and feel as if there is a way they can make a difference. So in my despair, I informed my editor that I would miss deadline. Then I shut down the computer and went for a walk.

The weather was strange, alternating from cold and damp cloudiness to warm sun breaks. Few people were on the path I took, and I had to watch where I was walking to avoid stepping in puddles. My head kept replaying the stories I'd heard on the news: a racist joke circulated by a district judge on the court email system; a talk show host who had called a law student testifying before Congress a "slut" and a "prostitute;" the New Orleans Saints bounty list that targeted opponents for intentional injury; a student shot at school being declared brain dead; tornadoes being blamed on the wrath of God against homosexuals; and denials that global warming even exists. It was enough to make me want to stomp one of the mud puddles I was trying to avoid.

Then the sun came out, and I saw a glint of color under some leaves and vines near the base of a tree. I stepped off the path and dug into the undergrowth and debris with my fingers. There, shooting up out of the ground, were several crocuses, their bright colors illuminating their dull, drab surroundings. Amid the rot and decay, new growth had occurred.

Perhaps that is the hope for which I was looking. There is much rot and decay in the world around us, but it will eventually become the rich environment in which new growth occurs. Let's shift our focus from the rot and decay to planning which seeds we want to plant together. Now is the time for thoughtful and compassionate conversation about the future rather than mere condemnation of the past.

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About David Bentley

Avatar_DavidBentleyDavid Bentley, M.Ed., is an avid observer of people, places and events. He uses his storytelling and questioning skills to help himself and others think outside the box in an ever-changing world.

Comments about his column can be sent to davidbentley@sanjuanislander.com

© 2014 David Bentley