Monday, November 24, 2014

More Light and Less Noise

Image by Nathan Lounds

A great story from one of America's greatest story-tellers, Abraham Lincoln, was apparently related by the president during those anxious days of the American Civil War. A delegation of well-meaning patriots tried to impress upon the president the gravity of the war. They implied that his administration was neither as wise nor good as it ought to be. He listened carefully, then responded with a memorable anecdote.

He told them that he once had a neighbor who found himself in a tight situation. The neighbor was traveling home one dark and rainy night. There were few bridges in the country and he came to a stream that he would have to ford. But because of the darkness and the rain, he couldn't see well enough to know just where to cross.

Lightning flashed and he saw his way for the briefest moment. But the man was perplexed because there seemed to be more thunder than lightning. He was convinced that every lightning flash was followed by several loud peals of thunder. The poor man just stood at the edge of the stream in his confusion about how to proceed. He finally prayed, "O Lord, if it is just the same to you, give me more light and less noise."

The delegation clearly got the point that the president needed more solutions and less complaining – more light and less noise.

The world can use more light and less noise. More solvers and fewer blamers. More folks showing a better way and fewer folks complaining about how much better things used to be. More folks offering help and fewer folks wringing their hands about the problems. More hope bringers and fewer hope killers.

To use another image…the sun rises every morning and sheds light, vanquishing the night's darkness. The rooster also rises every morning only, unlike the sun, he simply makes noise. But the darkness of the night is dispelled by sunshine, not by the rooster's crowing. 

The world can use more light and less noise. Wherever I can, I want to be light.

-- Steve Goodier

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