After what has felt like years of winter, it is finally spring in Boston. Today it was 70 degrees and sunny and even though I put on some sunblock, I still got burned. And yet, it felt so good to finally feel the sun on my skin and to look up at the beautiful clear sky. It is so easy to focus on the sunburn and forget the glorious day, since it can be hard to remember the good things when bad things happen, even minor things like sunburns. Everyday it seems that there is more bad news in the newspaper. Even so, the Polyanna in me sees the silver lining and thinks “And yet…” The recent Southwest flight that killed a passenger who was sucked partially through a window was devastating to that family. And yet, everyone else survived because a very skilled female pilot guided them safely to the ground. The recent Waffle House shooting was horrible, in that it was another mass shooting, falling so recently on the heels of the Parkland shooting and the students’ protests of “Never again.” And yet, the hero who saved the day was a black man in the south, the kind of person who is sadly not celebrated enough. And the horrible event in Toronto in which a crazy man plowed into innocent people was reminiscent of the Nice and Berlin attacks, and yet even in the horror, witnesses rushed to help the wounded. One woman left the cafe where she had been sitting to hold the hand of a man who was dying, since she didn’t want him to die alone.
Yesterday it was cold and pouring rain after only a few days of sunny spring days, and after our long winter, it felt like a cruel joke. And yet, I saw the explosion of pink and white blossoms overhead and the tulips confidently poking up through the ground. I spent all day today doing laundry and cleaning and tidying and my husband did hours of yard work to get ready for our Spanish exchange student who is arriving late tonight from Madrid. In addition to getting our kids to art classes and soccer games, my son needed help prepping for his Model UN competition for tomorrow and my daughter for a singing audition for a musical. My husband and I are dragging from hours of chores, and yet, we will have a 16 year-old Spanish girl in our house for ten days and then my daughter stays with her family in a few months. Last spring, we hosted a French girl for my daughter and next year we hope to host a Chinese student for my son. This is what makes me feel hopeful, that in a world that seems to have gone mad, there are students from other countries coming to stay with us and learn about our world, just as we will do with them. It makes the world seem smaller and more friendly.
To find your world stage, remember to look for the good news in the bad. Sometimes you may have to search hard, but there’s always something. And next time it rains, remember to look for the blossoms that provide the contrast to the dull grey and give us all hope, when it may feel hard to find.