what makes good?

This is a thing I am wondering about. How does good happen? What prompted my musing about this was a surprising good which came my way.

I was pulling out of Lowes recently and noticed a torn paper placed under my wiper blade. Irritated, I pulled over hoping whoever placed that there was not leaving me insurance info. due to some mishap. . . yes, assuming the worst was my first response. The handwritten note said “We found an iPhone by your van. Lowes will have it!”
I immediately reached in the pouch where I keep my phone: no phone.

Woah.
I had used my phone on my way to the store, I must’ve forgotten it was on my lap then when I got out of the car. Oblivious. Not the first time. I went into the store’s customer service desk and they had no iPhone, but as I stood there wondering what to do next, a guy I had seen in the garden section walked up and handed another employee the iPhone he had just been given by some shopper. Of course I was grateful, there it was: surely lost and now so quickly found. I asked the guy: what makes someone do this? This was his response.


All the way home I thought on this, for making good is of interest to me, and it is a challenge for me. It seems that good is getting rarer (either that or I am getting more cynical, but I do think it is the former more than the later). Maybe 30 years ago I would not have marveled at someone returning a valuable thing. These days we are all more vulnerable. And vulnerability is why I ponder more, and why I am surprised more when good shows up.

What is this thing we call good?
The other thing I recognized is that for good to happen, there has to be some kind of effort made. Good does not get actualized by just looking, thinking nice thoughts and then moving on. The finder of my iPhone had to notice, then they had to bend over, then they had to decide what to do, then they had to get out notepaper, then. . .  Good takes effort and tangible action, it is in fact a creative act.
This is my takeaway so far: vulnerability is the ground for more good coming. Vulnerable reality is the very setting by which good is even apprehended. We’re just going to miss it otherwise.

And, for good to come out it is going to take work. Good has to be made. Maybe this is obvious to you, but it is rather instructive for me. I am working as I wonder about this. Good is an abstract concept. But then it surprises us and shows up! I may not see the result (the finder of my iPhone did not see the result of her work) but because there is such a thing as good, I can expect results too.

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