“Compared to front-page news, obituaries are downright inspirational. Writing them is my way of transcending the bad and has taught me the value of intentionally trying to find the good in people and situations. We are all writing our own obituary every day by how we live. The best news is that there's still time for additions and revisions before mine goes to press.” – Heather Lende, from Find the Good
As she was digging deep into the lives of community members, Heather Lende, the obituary writer for her tiny hometown newspaper in Haines, Alaska, began to notice something. Even the crustiest old Alaskan sourpuss who died in a one-room cabin, always had Halloween candy for the neighborhood kids; the eccentric owner of the seafood store who regularly warned her about government conspiracies knew how to be a true friend—his memorial service was packed. When Lende started intentionally seeking what was positive and true in people and situations in her own life—whether it was finding common ground with her opponents on the school board or accepting that her unmarried daughter's pregnancy might be a blessing—she felt happier and life seemed more meaningful, too. Awful events—from recent school shooting across the country to a fisherman drowning in Haines—are always followed by dozens and dozens of good deeds. When tragedy strikes we can choose to focus on the first responders rushing toward the scene or the guys grilling hot dogs for hurricane refugees, and, like yawning, caring is contagious.
There's so much to gain by taking responsibility for your own happiness and nothing to lose. In stormy times like these we have to make our own good weather and Find the Good shows us how.