The miraculous rescue of 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach has faded from headlines. Over the weekend, it was replaced by a plea from dying U.S. Senator John McCain to President Trump to either hold Russia's Vladimir Putin accountable for meddling in U.S. elections or cancel a planned meeting with him. McCain's plea followed Special Counsel Robert Mueller's indictments of 12 Russian government intelligence agents, i.e. Putin employees, for hacking computers of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign.
One event was heroic, uplifting and good for the human heart. The other is depressing and stomach-turning except for McCain's yeoman's effort to defend and serve the country he loves while battling the scourge of cancer.
Is it me, or is the Thai rescue story the kind of news we crave? It shows international cooperation, heroism and unity as parents of all the trapped boys remained together at the cave even as the boys were extracted. A neighbor pointed out this week that there was never one public criticism of the coach, whom, she claimed, would have been sued by now had this happened here.
A steady diet of news that covers craven behavior, crass language, bullying, self-serving inurement and cow-towing to hatred and haters makes stories like the Thai rescue one to take to our hearts and remember.
During the weeks the incident was unfolding, I just happened to begin watching the Thai Navy SEALS Facebook page. Many translated posts from Thai to English were not smooth. However, they did something I thought was very cool. They assigned nicknames to the various international rescue teams and those translated perfectly. America's team was called Eagles while China's was Pandas, Australia's was Kangaroos, Laos was Brown Elephants and Sweden was Moose. They also nicknamed nay-sayers and obstacles "Crows" and told fans "no need to pay much attention to them." It worked.
It was widely reported that a retired Thai SEAL team member died during the rescue effort. What was not reported here was that an Australian doctor on their rescue team lost his dad while in Thailand. In an interview, British rescuers were humble about their roles simply saying they had the skill sets to help and it is good to be able to do that for the community.
Stealing Thai SEALS phrase: "Hooyah ...Hooyah .....Hooyah." It requires no translation.
I've noted that several news shows now end with a positive story. For example, a bride-to-be became a bone marrow donor for a little girl she did not know. Her act of kindness forged a bond between the two. So is it a surprise to learn that little girl became her flower girl? Pictures of them dressed in white, arms entwined, smiling at each other became an internet sensation.
An LA couple turned their grief after two miscarriages into an amazing act of love when they began to throw monthly birthday parties for kids at a homeless shelter. Three and a half years - and a baby later - they continue the work of their charity, Worthy of Love. The wife told CBS news, “We didn’t realize how much joy they (the homeless kids) were going to bring us, and that was so healing for me.”
I recently was told a story about a man, a well-known columnist for a major daily paper outside of Ohio, who lost his beloved wife. We all know these stories and they are heartbreaking. However, what this man did to deal with his grief and to keep his wife's memory alive - is notable. He became a justice of the peace! Before he marries a couple, he takes them to lunch to talk to them about marriage. He uses examples from his own successful marriage.
His act reminds me of a verse I have heard at wedding ceremonies. It's from St Paul's letter to the Corinthians 13:4-8: "Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs.”
Local good news stories abound. I realize this could be considered self-serving, but I believe the value of a community newspaper like ours rests in our ability to cover those local good news stories in ways other media do not. We're there when church groups provide lunch for needy children during summer or hold kitesfests and offer free movies so families have fun things to do on a Sunday evening. Scores of local volunteers work on events to raise money for organizations fighting childhood cancers, helping folks do mini home makeovers, build scholarship funds or create a musical harmony circle.
St. Paul's letter continues, "Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." The Thai Navy SEALS, following the successful extraction, said "have a good dream tonight."
There's more good than sad and bad to tell and talk about. Hooyah.