Trying times can reveal best, worst in people

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By Jeff D'Alessio

It is in the most difficult of times when true character is revealed. This is when you really begin to know what people are all about, how their hearts beat and who they share their hearts with.

We are all faced with good times and bad. I have always believed to fully appreciate the good times you have to endure some bad times.

Life often is unfair, as we know, but life is always good.

It would be spot on to say it is unfair for a 36-year-old mother of two to be diagnosed with cancer. Or for the cancer to strike a 3-year-old with a captivating smile and a love for the Wizard of Oz and the Kentucky Wildcats, or a toddler with a penchant for hair bows and bands.

But it is in these times, and many others, that you will open the good in people. Strangers become friends and those friends become a shoulder to cry on or to smile with, offering a hug that can mean so much more than an embrace.

They offer words of encouragement, open their hearts to people they might have known for only months or years, as well as their checkbooks to help as much as possible.

We use the word “friends” often in our lives. We really see who is there for you and who isn’t when difficult times emerge in our lives and the true character of people is revealed as easily as taking the peel off a banana.

We have seen our community embrace little ones who are no more familiar to them than a face on a flier. We have celebrated recovery and mourned their passing.

Often we have heard about how caring our community is. You can say a lot about Hardin County, and I’m sure politicians will cite countless areas for improvement over the next several months, but what cannot be debated is we live in a county of mostly really good, caring people who are willing and interested in helping others.

From personal experience over the last year, I can tell you it feels much, much better to be someone who is reaching out to help someone else in a number of ways than to be someone who realizes those “friends” never really were that at all. I have experienced both.

I can tell you doing the right thing — whatever that may be to you — is uplifting in every way. When I talked to my wife recently about something we were planning to do for someone, I said, “It just feels like it is what we are supposed to do” and she said, “I think so, too.” At least for us, it offered a calming presence.

I also can tell you it is encouraging to see people you know, but don’t really know, help others in a time of need and see their character revealed when all they have to gain is peace of mind in knowing they are trying to help a friend.

The right thing for you might be to go to a Gatti’s Pizza fundraiser for someone you know by name only, to volunteer at Warm Blessings or to provide food for the Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland BackPack Program. Maybe it is just being a friend in the purest sense of the word.

Whatever it is, do it.

Jeff D’Alessio is news editor of The News-Enterprise. He can be reached at 270-505-1757 or jdalessio@thenewsenterprise.com.