A welcome antidote for what ails our spirits

August 20, 2022 9:00 am

(Photo via Creative Credit/Getty Images)

Not all of the best medicine comes with a prescription from a physician.

Don’t read this to mean I am advocating treating coronavirus with ivermectin, a drug more often used on horses. That’s not what is on my mind today.

Recent news has left many of us discouraged. Floods, wind storms, shootings, politicians, pestilence, and on and on. It is not surprising the news has jolted many people’s psyche.

But I have found other news that gives me a boost of positive energy that is worth savoring and sharing:

A real winner

Athletic competition these days is filled with too many examples of unsportsmanlike conduct. I remember the awful scene captured on a spectator’s cellphone video last winter when players were walking through the customary handshake line after a high school basketball game in central Iowa.

For whatever reason, one student punched an opposing player in the face, knocking him to the floor unconscious. It shocked fans and was national news. Two weeks ago, there was another unexpected sports incident. This time, it left many people cheering.

The event occurred at a regional baseball championship game between teams of 12-year-olds from suburban Houston, Texas, and Tulsa, Okla. There was a lot on the line — a trip to the Little League World Series for the winner, and for the loser, the end of the baseball season and thoughts forever of what might have been.

Kaiden Shelton, playing for the Texans, lost control of a pitch to batter Isaiah Jarvis. The ball quickly sailed high and inside and struck Isaiah in the front of his helmet. The helmet flew off. Isaiah fell to the ground, clutching his head for a few terrifying moments.

He then got to his feet and moved on to first base. Seeing Kaiden was in distress over what occurred, Isaiah then walked to the pitcher’s mound. In another league at another time and under different circumstances, that could have led to an argument, or worse. Instead, Isaiah gave Kaiden a comforting hug.

Kaiden repeatedly expressed his regret and asked Isaiah how he was feeling. Isaiah later told reporters, “I was making sure he was OK and was telling him it was fine.”

Kaiden Shelton and his Texas teammates went on to win and advance to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa. But Isaiah Jarvis and his classy actions after being beaned had baseball fans, and non-fans, across the nation calling him a winner, too.

Stephen Skocik, an official of the Tulsa Little League, told the Washington Post, “This is why we play. We’re trying to make major league people.”

Isaiah’s father, Austin Jarvis, put it this way: “Being a good person is more important than being a great player.”

A needed lift

Traveling by horse-and-buggy many not be your cup of tea. Forgoing electricity might not ring your bell. But the Amish people of Davis County taught all of us a wonderful lesson this month when it came time to move a large barn on a farm west of Bloomfield.

The lessons were not the finer points of building construction or engineering, although the barn-moving project was fascinating. The barn is 40 feet wide, 80 feet long and stands 18 feet tall at the sidewalls.

Owner Freeman Beachy estimates the structure weighs 10 tons. He has a new house and wanted the barn closer to the new location to shelter his horses, buggies and hay.

That new location is about 900 feet from where the barn had been standing. That distance is the length of three football fields.

Amish ingenuity was put to the test when the mover Beachy lined up was not going to be able to get to the job as quickly as the Davis County farmer wanted. So, Beachy put the word out to families in a dozen Amish churches across southern Iowa that he needed help.

About 300 volunteers were lined up, literally and figuratively, to lift the barn in unison and walk it about one-fifth of a mile to the waiting foundation.

Editor’s note: Here’s the video from the Bloomfield Democrat.

The herculean task took about 20 minutes. Then, with the barn securely in place, the sweaty laborers gathered inside to offer a song of thanks the project had gone safely. The song this 300-voice Amish choir chose for their impromptu thanksgiving was in the spirit of the event — the German song, “Gott ist die Liebe,” or “God Is Love.”

After the song to nourish the movers’ souls, it was time for ham sandwiches and homemade ice cream to nourish their bodies. Beachy’s wife, Edna, with help from women in the area, had 500 hot sandwiches and 32 gallons of cold dessert waiting for everyone.

B.J. Grant of Bloomfield was one of the few “English” to help with the move. “English” is an Amish term for those who are not Amish.

Amish or not, Grant had the best takeaway from the barn-moving: “This event should be an example for the community as a whole on how to work together without jealousy or envy. In the English world that doesn’t happen, but in the Amish community, they support each other,” he told the Bloomfield Democrat.

When we keep our eyes open, we can find news that helps provide a welcome antidote to what is poisoning our lives these days.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Randy Evans
Randy Evans

Randy Evans is executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council, a 43-year-old nonprofit education and advocacy organization that works for improved government transparency and citizen accountability. He can be reached at [email protected]