Wednesday - July 22, 2009
I am frequently asked how I hold up emotionally broadcasting the news. Most of it is depressing news, especially these days: Bad people doing bad things to the innocent, the helpless.
But every week I receive wonderful letters of gratitude. There are people out there doing good things ― and most often for strangers! That has provided me with a much-needed balance. Writing APPLAUSE puts the events of the day in perspective and allows me some degree of sanity.
The letters take a familiar form. The gesture of goodwill is unexpected. An act of kindness uplifts the receiver, restores faith in humankind, and makes us feel very “lucky we live Hawaii.” I’ve been doing this column for about 12 years, and never get tired of reading that.
The Applaudees are neighbors, emergency crews, military personnel, persons unknown. The Applauders are the elderly, the young, the disabled, the lost, the victimized. While all the gratitude is coming from the latter, I believe the greater gift is given to the former. For those brief moments when we are lending assistance we are putting someone else’s wellbeing above our own. And that makes us feel good.
When I’m lucky enough to contact a Good Samaritan, the response is universal: “I was glad to help.” The only reward that matters is the opportunity to be there for someone.
If I had to pick one letter that sums up APPLAUSE, it would be the message from a grandmother thanking her granddaughter for staying at her side during a life-and-death emergency. The little girl wept, praying to God to save her grandmother. Recuperating at the hospital, Tutu took the time to write a letter in praise of her granddaughter. Sometimes it’s the simplest of good deeds that touch our hearts. Sometimes a prayer can save a life.
I’ve learned lessons from every letter I receive: not to pre-judge, not to take things for granted. But what really is communicated in your messages is hope. There is goodness out there, and so much power in the words “thank you.”
So allow me to turn the tables and offer generous APPLAUSE to the thousands of you who have shared your gratitude with us in the pages of MidWeek.
(If you know someone who deserves some Applause, send your letters to Pamela Young, MidWeek Applause, KITV, 801 S. King St., Honolulu, HI, 96813 or e-mail email@example.com. Include your name, phone number and, if possible, the phone number of your “applaudee” so we can contact him or her.)
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