God Says: People Are Good

It’s 5:30 a.m. Here are some Random Thoughts zipping around the fringes of the muddled abyss that Little Sleep and Crucial Details have made of my once not-all-the-clear-anyway mind.

I have to drop off my car for servicing at 7:45 this a.m. I will then go spend the day sorting through the mountain of books donated to my wife’s thrift store this week. I am doing this because the store’s volunteer book person took the summer off. I will fill literally half a dumpster with the books I throw out. First, though, I throw them into the huge garbage cans near the sorting area. Those cans are right next to the long line of homeless people who everyday show up for free food. Invariably and constantly, these people will take an intense interest in what seems to them like the perfectly good books I’m throwing out. 

Tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. (our 27th wedding anniversary!) my wife Cat and I are to meet at our new home the guy who’s going to spend three days painting the interior of our house. I found this man on Craigslist. He barely speaks English; I believe he is Korean. He’s an extremely intense guy. I like and respect him very much. I know he’ll do work of the quality I’d like him to.

Tomorrow at 9 a.m. another guy will also show up at our house, to install our new air conditioner there. This is a huge, $4,000 project. Like our painter, this man is exceptionally knowledgeable and experienced at his trade: he teaches classes in air conditioning (!) He is thoughtful, patient, kind, and very easy to respect. It’s a blessing to have both he and Eun Koo Kang the Painter in our lives.

Relative to our new home, we have, this week, accomplished these things:

1. Bought the thing. (Interesting snag at the very end: My driver’s license had expired, bringing to a screeching halt in its final moment the culmination of everything that had gone into the finalizing of the purchase of our house. The escrow people, the sellers, the sellers’ agent, our agent, the title people, our lending bank … everyone involved in the deal simply stopped, while I ran to the public zoo that is the DMV. Imagine my chagrin. But check this out: After my license extension had been seen to, out of nowhere the woman helping me at the DMV volunteered to fax proof of my extension to everyone who was right then waiting to see it. Without even looking up at me as she finished processing my license, she goes, “Give me the numbers. I’ll fax this for you.” Then she went back into her Operational Labyrinth, and did just that. Pure awesomeness.)

2. Changed the locks in our new house. (And in so doing made acquaintence with an amazingly great guy, Tony, owner/operator of KlickLock. What a guy—and with what an honorable past. Tony is the man.)

3. Had our house thoroughly cleaned by the two very kind, very hardworking women sent to us via Merry Maids. Tipped them heavily for their Awesome Work.

4. Had the gas and electricity turned on by Ron the Power Guy, with whom I had a wonderful time. Ron’s extremely funny, and extremely smart about All Things Gas and Electric. He taught me all about my new water heater. Awesomeness redoux.

5. Had the carpets in our new house cleaned by the sweetest kid (I dunno … I’d say he was 23) you’d ever want to meet. He works for Stanley Steemer. He did a wonderful job on a carpet that looked like it had been used as a surface for terrorist training. Afterwards, Manuel and I totally hung out in my kitchen. He’s a freak for granite countertops and whatever kind of range/stove we now own. I think he would have cooked us lunch if he didn’t have to go.

6. Got phone and internet service started at the new place, via a superb customer service woman at ATT, who took my account info home with her so she could call us after hours to keep us up on the status of our account. I’m so sure! This woman definitely deserves a raise, because whatever she makes can’t possibly be enough.

7. Bought a new washer and dryer for our new place at Home Depot. The man who helped us there was so great I can’t even tell you. Kind, patient, knowledgeable, thorough, generous … dealing with him was just a wonderful experience.

8. Bought, at Home Depot, some 20 gallons of paint, in four colors that my wife and I spent a month deciding on. Again: extraordinary customer service, for a long time, over a lot of complicated variables. I don’t know how Home Depot finds such great people, or what they do to make them so consciencious and gracious, but dang, they have good people. The one by my house does, anyway. Same thing with the HD guy who sold us our new ceiling fan. He couldn’t have been better.

Anyway, stuff like that. We’re spending a lot of money getting our new house in order, and one of the things we’re getting for our money—in some ways the best thing—is what feels like a divine affirmation of the goodness of people. This whole process has been an object lesson in the very encouraging fact that the world is filled with good, loving people who take true pride in what they do every day.

And now I’m off to get my car serviced by the best mechanics I’ve ever dealt with. You wouldn’t believe this local garage. The guy who owns it is so good my standard deal with him is to say, “Do whatever you think needs to be done.” And I’m not stupid about cars. But this guy has proven himself to be exactly the kind of guy you can actually say that to.

There’s a lot in me that tends toward cynicism. These days so many people, everywhere in my life, are daily showing me how wrong, stupid, and ridiculously unnecessary cynicism is.

 

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter.

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com ric booth

    There’s a lot in me that tends toward cynicism. These days so many people, everywhere in my life, are daily showing me how wrong, stupid, and ridiculously unnecessary cynicism is.

    I can Sooo relate to your conclusion here! Thanks for this post.

  • http://www.jesussite.com/blog David Wallace

    Your title is a bit mis-leading. Here I thought you were going to write in contrast to what Jesus said when he made the statement, "Why do you call me good? No one is good–except God alone." (Luke 18:19).

    And yet you are writing about your personal life?

    Well, the "controversial" title (at least in my opinion) at least got me to click through but I'm disappointed that the post did not really match up with the title.

  • Dan Harrell

    John,

    I'm moving to whatever country you live in. Seriously, most people are good and helpful if you give them a chance, as you note. If we are in God's image (we are) then we do reflect God's goodness, at least some of the time.

    Thanks for writing about this. The entire journey is so interesting.

  • http://samwrites2.wordpress.com samwrites2

    John,

    Awesome blessings to you!

    I think you're just proving the value of "loving one another" and getting back what you're putting out.

    -Sam

  • http://suddenlyatheist.wordpress.com/ morsec0de

    Great read John. However, I agree that the title needs changing.

    "People Demonstrate: People are Good"

    Just an idea. :)

    -Morse

  • FreetoBe

    Fixing up a new place is so fun! Congrats on meeting all these wonderful people. I think goodness comes back to those who show it. My son & I went to your regular fast food place the other day, where the counter was occupied by your usual harried and sweaty counter people. After giving our order to a particularly sweaty woman, who did not say anything more than "what can I get you?", my son asked her, with all sincerity, how she was doing this fine day. She looked at him, smiled, answered, and the transformation in her was just amazing–shoulders quit sagging, spring in her step, extra careful that she got the order correct, and a smiley "thank you" at the end.

    Yes, God gives us goodness so that we can pass it on.

    Hope you have something special planned for your 27th anniversary tomorrow, John, being a new co-homeowner (home co-owner?)…….

    extra stuff to celebrate.

  • http://www.yvettenietzen.com Yvette

    It seems to be that you are indeed blessed! Everything is moving quite smoothly.

    Congrats again, and on your anniversary.

  • arlywn

    maybe this is satan's way of saying he missed spreading evil in some cities. great job on the house and the patience and the finding all the nice people. hope you continue to succeed…. but since I just jinxed you, sorry. lol

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Thanks, all. Very nice! Wonderfully warm. You guys are all being very kind, and very thoughtful. (Um … but, to David Wallace: Were you upset that "Grapes of Wrath" wasn't about pissed-off produce?)

  • Paul

    John,

    Congrats and wow! I too tend toward cynicism, but your story reminds me of the sermon illustration about the man at the train station, who when asked what the residents of the town were like, responded to two very different answers (Wonderful, friendly vs. Mean, selfish) with this "you will find them much the same here"

  • http://skerrib.blogspot.com skerrib

    I was totally upset that "Grapes of Wrath" wasn't about produce.

    I am of the opinion that most people just want to play nice, as well. I am also the type of person who looks ridiculous when she tries to give someone what-for, so I tend toward a more subversively-diplomatic style when I need to get what I want. Not for everyone, but most effective for me.

  • http://skerrib.blogspot.com skerrib

    Maybe I meant diplomatically-subversive.

  • tjbrassell

    GREAT POST!!! Something I am coming to appreciate more and more as I come out of my religiously trained skepticism! If you ever get the chance, check out Dr. Baxter Kruger's book "The Great Dance". You can find a clear and brief summary on http://www.christianbooksummaries.com under PAST ISSUES! It elaborates on this goodness in all people from the standpoint of the Trinity and the connection God has with all men in the Person of Jesus Christ Who created and sustains all people and things – the Gospel!

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Thank you, as ever, Ric.

  • http://www.mediocrity.us David Barach

    I’m so happy to hear that this has been a wonderful and inspiring process for you. It’s as much your attitude toward the snags and setbacks that come with such a complicated process as it is the professional and polite people you have met along the way that have made it so.

    I would be very sad if you completely gave up on cynicism as a result of this. I disagree that it’s wrong, stupid and unnecessary. Cynicism, like humor, can be either be mean and spiteful, or fun and playful – it’s what you decide to make it, and you’ve always made it fun for me.

  • http://www.sheppardministries.com Greta

    It’s a good read, John. Refreshing to know that there are indeed some good people out there who have integrity and good work ethics.

    All I can say is: “The steps of a good man are ordered of the Lord!”

  • http://www.teeveebee.wordpress.com teeveebee

    Wow. Sounds like the Lord has blessed. Lots to be thankful for, to be sure.

    For now, I'm so exhausted just reading about all you have been doing this week that I think I'd better go take a little nap.

    Oh, and Happy Anniversary!

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

  • http://www.teeveebee.wordpress.com teeveebee

    Wow. Sounds like the Lord has blessed. Lots to be thankful for, to be sure.

    For now, I'm so exhausted just reading about all you have been doing this week that I think I'd better go take a little nap.

    Oh, and Happy Anniversary!

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

  • http://raspberrie.wordpress.com raspberrie

    Hello John,

    How exciting, a wonderful new home. I hear the same divine voice you do. And I really liked your title.

  • http://raspberrie.wordpress.com raspberrie

    Hello John,

    How exciting, a wonderful new home. I hear the same divine voice you do. And I really liked your title.

  • arlywn

    *gasps* grapes of wrath isnt about produce????? Someone lied to me…. now I dont want to read it. lol

  • http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/ Ed Darrell

    You must be living real good, or dripping with cash. Our dryer repair guy was as good as you describe three days ago; the AT&T installer was as good as yours, but the rest of AT&T did their best to sabotage his good efforts at friendliness, accuracy and quality. Other customer service examples here suffer.

    Also, you may be the last family in America buying a house and spending money on those items. The curious thing is why they aren't kissing your feet and volunteering to marry your ugliest daughter, if you had one. You're putting bread on the table of a lot of people.

    Nice that you're having a good time doing it.

  • http://debhartbeads.wordpress.com Deboarh Hart

    What a great read to end my day. Thanks.

  • http://debhartbeads.wordpress.com Deboarh Hart

    What a great read to end my day. Thanks.

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  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    (Ed: Actually, AT&T continues to … not be able to figure out how to get my phone to work: they keep leaving me messages telling me everything's a go, when nothing is. But it'll work out.)

  • http://www.ldbeams.wordpress.com ladybeams

    I really think our personal attitude has a lot to do with how things happen. I love it when you have days or weeks where everyone you meet seems to be special. It's times like that I just walk around saying "Jesus loves me". LOL


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