As much as I love politics and fiction (although less so political fiction), it’s been a rough few months, with a veritable maelstrom of stories of intolerance and hate. I find comfort and solace in fiction, with characters created by authors whose storytelling skill is a wonder to me.
That said, I’ve encountered some marvelous non-fiction recently. Stories of real people in real situations that are astonishing in their ability to restore faith in humankind. When I ran across the fourth of these this week, I realized that I would be selfish not to share them. These aren’t religious or political tales. They’re just about people, connections, and the power of the human heart.
This run of stories started with an experience of my very own, concerning a discovered connection with a neighbor that was forged decades and thousands of miles ago, but I didn’t even know existed. I wrote about it here.
Then a friend—and someone I admire more than I can express—Pop Culture Nerd, had a similarly astounding experience. Very different story, though, and one she tells with clarity and fierce wonder here. Since she published it, I’ve read it at least a dozen times because it proves to me that while I don't understand them and choose not to label them, there are forces at work in the world that are bigger than us.
The next story is that of Lisa Adams, whom I know from Twitter; we’ve only met once very briefly in person. We share a love of reading and snark. Recently, Lisa was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer. It can’t be cured, and the treatment regimen is unkind, to say the least. She is documenting her experiences on her blog with as much courage as I have ever witnessed in order to educate people. When I heard, I wanted to do something helpful, but didn’t have the first clue of what that might be. Then I got an email from Neil Shurley, another of Lisa’s Twitter friends, asking me for a photo because he was making a video. You can read the whole story here, and watch the video here. I believe in traditional medicine and science, and I also hope that the compassion Lisa’s friends have rallied to deliver makes some kind of positive difference.
Story number four comes from a consummate professional storyteller in the person of Michael Connelly. In this essay, he writes about a real-life experience during the 1992 Los Angeles riots in which he encountered great compassion and bravery in the most unlikely of settings. I hope this essay is widely shared, and the person he writes about sees it. Regardless, it is yet more evidence that humanity trumps all.
So there you have it. Four stories that have given me pause because sometimes I forget what an amazing world we all inhabit. Thank you for reading.