‘Today I avoided the news. And the stories I read instead are pure joy.’

Where are the Oprah episodes, circa 1998, when you need them? The ones where she did an entire show on two kids who came from the wrong side of the tracks and had the world against them and everything that could go wrong for them did and then? And then?

One graduates from Harvard with a law degree and the other is happily married with her own family.

Oprah Winfrey tells stories of inspiration

I need an inspiring story of human victory today. I need a story of kindness and sweetness and human nature at its best, not worst. I need a story that makes love mean something more than a word slotted in a cannily crafted marketer's hashtag.

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I’ve already read about a two-year-old little girl who was found dead in the roof cavity of her home in Mildura and how child services had been called to her house (it lacked electricity and had cat faeces and food scraps on the floor) 14 times prior. I’ve scanned the news of an imminent recession, child refugee detainment and the perennials: climate change, terrorism and war in the Middle East.

And I just can’t do it today. I don’t want to. I don’t have the strength today. I woke up sad because sometimes something happens in your life (or that of someone you are very fond of) that makes you sad.

Author, Jackie.

And then you get hit by the problems of the world. They’re like a friend who has been having the same relationship issues with the same man for 10 years and she keeps telling you the same stories; only the months and years have changed. Nothing ever gets solved. It’s the same stuff on rotation. Two-year-olds being killed by step-fathers. The economy about to collapse. Job insecurity, children still in detention, coral on the Great Barrier Reef bleached by higher than average temperatures, an attack on innocent people somewhere in the name of religion...


Normally I can deal with the news. I like the news. I need it to make an informed way in the world. But today, I can't do it. This is not RUOK stuff. This is a day when you feel sad and you don’t want to absorb any more sadness. I suppose it’s self-preservation.

Godfrey Cuotto giving comfort to a man with special needs. Image via Facebook.

So today I’m turning the daily news cycle off. And I’m connecting with the big, wide world through those small stories that lift me, like that of Godfrey Cuotto, 22, from Canada who held the hand of a special needs man on a bus when that man became scared.

When contacted after the post went viral, Cuotto said the family of Robert had called to thank him for his kindness. Cuotto said the man reached out to shake his hand, but then he kept holding it and "he just needed comfort".

Or the young woman who had a special relationship with her grandfather on Humans of New York. While her mother held the family together working, the grandfather would help her with her homework. Every night. He loved to help because she was the first grandchild to get an education. It was his dream to see her graduate from college and the night she did, he died.

Or watching any Australian Story episode on iView. Real stories that acknowledge that grief and pain are in the world but also show you how incredible and life-affirming the human spirit can be.

The woman with a special relationship with her grandfather pic Humans of New York

And when people ask, I’m going to tell them I’m sad today. It’s okay. Sometimes that happens and there is nothing much you can do about it.

I won't be collecting any more sadness today. I'm keeping my eyes firmly on the little people going about their day - their stories. Those from the other side of the world and those I go home to every night.


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