LAST week I had the privilege of being invited to spend some time with our new Belfast Mayor, Kate Nicholl. It was lovely to be back in the City Hall and to reconnect with some of the staff I had met when I was Chaplain to both Deirdre Hargey and Daniel Baker (two phenomenal former Mayors).
As Kate and I chatted through snippets of her story, her role as Mayor, current affairs, the importance of engaging in conversations and so on, we both recognised the importance of good news stories.
Yes, it is vital that we continue to face our challenges and work toward building a better City, but nothing brings hope and encouragement like good news. Together we came up with the idea to each day share on our social media accounts some good news. Within hours of launching the idea #goodnewsmovement, many people joined in sharing stories and photos reflecting what is amazing about our city.
In fact, the station Manager of U105 got in touch to say they would like to help with our initiative.
There is something built in each of us that longs to hear what is good. Maybe we are tired …
• Tired of how challenging life can be
• Tired of living with this pandemic
• Tired of our same old job
• Tired of constantly feeling like we are hit with bad news
• Tired of feeling discouraged
• Tired of our city hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons
Some of us are simply tired of being tired. Life is not a constant high.
Yet in the midst of it all there are good news stories. Day in and day out people are serving our city. Unsung heroes are cleaning our streets, looking after the sick, tending to the broken, providing hospitality, transporting us around, teaching our children, putting their shoulder to the wheel of peace and reconciliation.
Yes, we may differ. Yes, we may come from different backgrounds, but together we can join in and celebrate good news stories about our city. The writer of Proverbs tells us that “bright eyes gladden the heart; good news puts fat on the bones” (15:30). In other words, positivity is good for our health and well-being.
I have no doubt that Kate will be an amazing Mayor – she already is. We would love you all to join in and share your good news stories with us. Even if you are not on social media you can still be part of the #goodnewsmovement, by simply taking the time to look and notice what is happening around you.
Give it a go. See the goodness of our everyday city life in your everyday moments.