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Good

Posted: July 28, 2014

A couple of nights ago I was thinking of the concept of goodness. Then I realized that it all started at the beginning with Genesis. It seemed so appropriate, “God saw all that he made and behold it was very good,” Genesis 1:13. I am Catholic so Bible and scholar are not like peanut butter and jelly in my experience. But, I love the big, epic Bible stories so they always hold a place in my imagination…

I thought of how often we use “good” in our daily encounters. “Good” plays a significant role in our language and interactions, often without our awareness. We say, “good morning” when we greet members of our family each day. When we see people on our daily rounds, we say, “good morning,” “good afternoon,” or “good night.” When someone leaves our presence, we say “goodbye.”

We say, “Bon voyage” if someone is going on a cruise or a long trip. There are numerous examples in other cultures and languages that mention “good” whether it’s, “good day, mate” if you are Australian or “bonsoir” if you are French.

We also tie in “good” with effort. We frequently say, “good job” or “good try.” We may say, “good luck” when someone is taking a new job or trying something difficult. And we are delighted to hear, “I have good news”…

I am not sure why this idea has been on my mind. I think that sometimes we forget the idea that everything around us was created for good. Our good, our neighbor’s good regardless of whether we like them, and I do like my neighbors. But, I think that what has struck me is the profound idea that there is “good” everywhere we look.

I searched Google this morning to find the Bible verse that I thought of the other night. When I scrolled through several translations of that 

verse, a couple of the words changed, but the essence was the same. Each translation spoke of this goodness. I have heard the line, “God saw all that he had made and behold it was very good” many times. And yet, there it was again. I was amazed at the simplicity and power of those words.

It reminds me that I need to pay attention. As I write this morning, I am filled with gratitude for the sun that streams into my kitchen window and makes everything look so beautiful. Our hydrangeas, lilies and hostas are all blooming.

When I turn on my faucet, I am reminded of the blessing of clean, fresh water. It nourishes us. Its essence has been life giving since the beginning of time. The water that flows through our streams, lakes and oceans gives us an abundance of plants, fish and animals. It has not changed for thousands of years. It is remarkable.

There is a timeless quality to the goodness that surrounds us. Even with all of our progress, inventions and new ideas it has never been surpassed. It is we who have changed.

Often we have forgotten the life that sustains us. As we argue whether it is the “chicken or the egg” we have allowed so much of the natural world to be destroyed. The ironic thing is that we are not asked to create or replicate it, we are asked to be “good” stewards of it.

There is that word again. We may disagree on how we get there, but we must be willing to recognize our role in doing “good.” President Theodore Roosevelt said, “We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received, and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune.”

—Maura Schnorbach