Whether the national news bombarding every imaginable platform by which we get it is about worthless protests, endless crime, war and death, worldwide tragedy or the numbing effects of out-of-control tolerance, there remains goodness in this world. Have you stopped long enough lately to notice or do you find yourself consumed by what others, many of whom you dislike, don’t respect and who don’t care much, think? Are you constantly exhausted due to the perpetual attempts to please those people? Do you search for real peace and pray, sometimes desperately, that you’ll find it?

Life is too short to be bound by gossip, selfishness, insidious pursuits, hate and the painful emptiness of shallow relationships. And life is certainly far too valuable to be lived in fear or doubt or as the victim of a merciless population gone mad. Rather, God intended life to be lived with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. To make it possible, God gave us Jesus, the greatest example we have of how to live. God also gave us each a package of people and of creation that serves to remind us of what matters most. Inside we’ll find:

The laugh of a child,

The joy of giving to others,

The unbreakable bonds of friendship,

The warmth of the sun,

Being able to binge watch episodes of our favorite show,

Times of dopey yet unforgettable belly laughs,

The sound of the ocean,

Pride for our favorite team,

The smell of fresh cut grass,

Opportunities to watch our children fulfill their passions,

The feeling of achievement that has nothing to do with money or promotion,

Moments of remembering our childhood or high school years,

Songs that remind us of those days,

The gift of being part of a church family,

The unconditional loyalty we get from our pets,

The chance for a day off with not much to do,

Acts of heroism and courage,

The chance to send a text to someone who thought we may have forgotten them,

The times we choose to be kind when being mean is justified,

An authentic handshake or hug with someone who needs to know we care,

Signs from God that He is with us and that we never need to worry about our future as long as we trust Him and,

The realization that we matter to others more than we know.

While we may find ourselves in the middle of a big, bad world where greed, money and power fuel society, we don’t have to live there. Instead, we can choose to plant our roots in places where that which really matters, matters and that if this was our last week of life, we would live it fully.

Anything less isn’t living.