Listening to the news is downright depressing. War, gun violence, partisan bickering — it’s enough to make you lose your faith in humanity.
That’s why feel good stories are so important. And I don’t mean sappy soap-opera TV specials; I’m talking about real people doing real things to care for others. Reading about these people is like exhaling. It’s like a shot of sunlight to the soul.
A few weeks back, I read a powerful story in Maryknoll magazine: Detaining God’s Children. It’s about a couple in a parish in El Paso, Texas, who started a ministry to help undocumented children who are found crossing the desert alone. These children often have lost their parents, or are trying to find them after years of separation. Many are exploited by coyotes, the human smugglers who are paid to take them across to the border. When these children are picked up by Border Patrol, they are placed in detention camps, and this is where Norma and Rolando Lujan realized that they could do something to help. The story of their ministry is very worth a read. They are such a moving example of seeing a human need and addressing it, giving comfort to a vulnerable group of children who are often ignored completely.
Mike Leach is a Catholic writer and editor who writes the Soul Seeing column for National Catholic Reporter. His most recent article, called “In Alzheimer’s, there is only the present” made me cry (in a good way). Mike’s wife Vickie has Alzheimer’s, and Mike writes so beautifully about the experience of caring for a beloved spouse even when she no longer remembers large parts of their shared life (and sometimes doesn’t even remember who he is). Even if you don’t know anyone affected by the disease, Mike’s article is a powerful testament to patience, and grace, and love that endures. I am a better person simply for having read it.