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The article began, “It was a small trial, just eighteen cancer patients...”

I’ll cut to the chase. All eighteen were cured.

That never happens, at least not according to medical professionals.

Don’t get too excited. It was only a small trial, for a very specific cancer, and it needs to be replicated to be sure it wasn’t some sort of statistical oops. Nevertheless, it was a bit of good news that leaped out at me this morning.

I’ve been in desperate need of some good news, and lately it feels like good news is in short supply. Look around – some nut in Russia wants to recreate the Soviet Union, so he invades Ukraine and does a very bad job of it. As a result, thousands of people are dead, countries are torn up, children are going hungry in Africa, and truckers are spending $1,000.00 to fill their trucks with diesel - $1,000.00 if they’re lucky. All because of one crackpot with too much power.

A couple years ago, a new bug slipped into the world and the result is seven million dead and counting, with over one million in the United States alone. Plus, because most computer chips are made an ocean away (and I’d like to know who thought that was a good idea), there are still shortages of the craziest of items – from cars to video games. And because there is a lot of money to be made from shortages of both oil and computer chips, the people making the money are in no real hurry to sort things out.

Oceans are rising, forests are burning, and our politics are relentlessly bonkers. The news can be hard to stomach.

But this morning, before I looked at the news, I took a moment to study a gorgeous sunrise. Flowers are blooming, and if you’d happen to notice one particularly unsightly tree in my orchard, I’d explain that I was just about to prune it when I saw a goldfinch nest with three tiny eggs in the errant branch.

I just opened Facebook and read about the ten-year anniversary of the New Life Primary School in Mizak, Haiti. When we first visited the school, it consisted of a rusted tin roof and only two walls, made of torn canvas tarps. Now there is a new building, ten teachers, hundreds of students, and a solar powered well, and we’ve been lucky enough to have had a tiny hand in the whole works. My dad made many of the school desks in his basement, using wood from trees planted by my great-grandparents. We raised money to ship them to Haiti and the students and their parents assembled them. We haven’t been back since the site for the new school was just a bare patch of ground and a portion of foundation. I’d like to go but funding my travel would cost about the same amount as four months of a teacher’s salary. I’d rather use the money for that.

This morning I went to town and got to see one of my former Sunday School students who is now a grandmother. I told her a funny story and she laughed out loud, a sound I’ve enjoyed hearing for decades.

When I read the article about the cancer study, I thought, “What a great bit of news. That cheers me up.” The thing is, I shouldn’t have needed that to make me feel better. It took no time at all to think of many, many small blessings that line my journey.

There are things I can’t fix in this world. We live surrounded by pain, uncertainty, selfishness and misery. But there’s more, much more. Eighteen people and their families now know that for sure. The rest of us should as well.

Copyright 2022 Brent Olson


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