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Can bad times produce good?

April 13, 2012
Tribune Chronicle |

Some people see the glass half-empty, while others see it half-full. Perspective is really important. It's possible to emphasize the hole in the doughnut and never enjoy the doughnut itself. Dunkin' Donuts solved that ''problem'' by selling the ''holes'' under the name ''munchkins.''

At the local flea market, I've been amazed why people buy and sell such junk, but it illustrates that what I perceive to be ''junk,'' somehow becomes someone else's ''treasure.''

Some time ago I talked about being locked into the decaying Warren environment, and how some had risen above that stigma. With the demise of the steel industry in the '70s, and the more recent difficulties with Delphi, the future economic picture has been bleak.

But it has been encouraging to contemplate the prospects of drilling for natural gas. Tribune Chronicle Editor Frank Robinson's columns have been a good sounding board for the pros and cons for this potential industry in our Valley. Whatever the issues, it sounds like a great opportunity for economic growth. Hopefully, the details can be negotiated for the good of all concerned.

I've just returned home from the Scranton, Pa., area where I participated in Good Friday and Easter services. Staying in touch with the Tribune online, I noticed the Niles Clergy Association held a Good Friday service at the McKinley Memorial.

I have pondered at times as to why that Friday has been called ''good?'' After all, it was the day that Christ, the perfect and sinless Savior, was put to death! How could that be considered ''good'' by any definition? It was really the most despicable and infamous day of human history. Should it not have been called "Bad Friday?"

Needless to say, in light of the Gospel story, Sunday was coming up - when that same Christ would rise from the dead, vindicating Friday's work on the cross. So we see that good came out of the bad. Of course, that event was unique and life-changing, but the principle applies to other areas of human experience.

There are certainly no guarantees in this imperfect world, but a hopeful anticipation is in order. Things, and people, can change, injecting new confidence into a community.

Wouldn't it be great to see downtown Warren flourish again? Some believe it can never happen, but that remains to be seen. It will not happen without a reversal of our social climate.

I've addressed many times the need for strong leadership in families and local government, which in turn affects progress in our schools. This will take a strong effort from our church community, which can fortify the whole family unit.

This ''Easter'' message needs to permeate our city, producing new dimensions of faith and hope. We are more than flesh and blood; there's a soul that needs nurturing, which in turn affects our whole being.

Life is tough. All of us have burdens beyond our grasp. It's been good to witness the community spirit helping others in times of grief and tragedy. I grew up in the ''hood'' of a large city, but that didn't stop people from caring for each other. We all had front porches; we sat outside in warm weather, being accessible to our neighbors - an ongoing ''neighborhood watch'' for each other. We need that concern again, where folks reach out to help one another.

We had our problems, too, but there was an attempt to solve them without calling the police or threatening to sue. Sometimes there were verbal exchanges, and even fights, but it got settled without guns and knives.

Yes, things look bleak around us, but this season celebrates the message of hope, even when things are bad. Good can come forth from the bad, if we make right choices. I choose to see the glass half-full, rather than half-empty.

Finnigan is a Howland resident. Email him at



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