Have you found yourself becoming cynical about the world? Have you found yourself feeling defeated, disappointed, helpless, or becoming apathetic? What about your heart? Have you felt any pain from what’s happening around the world? There seems to be an unrelenting hurricane of violence, injustice, intolerance, and pain. Syria, Columbia, the Sudan, Turkey, the United States, refugee violence, racial violence,and religious and social intolerance, fear mongering, corruption, and so much more around the world. This isn’t shaping up to be a hopeful post.
From immediate and emergency situations to systemic oppression, the world isn’t short on challenges or devastating circumstances. From violence against women and minority around the world to the silly, but detrimental inequities in the United States. From equal right to human rights. From gender equity to LGBTQ issues. From racial discrimination to classism divides. From displacement to resettlement. From climate change to natural resources being commodified. Sometimes it feels like the world is going to shit. It is easy to feel helpless, powerless, apathetic, and hopeless. Over the last month, I have felt the weight of all these things.
The many situations and ever-growing list challenges consumed my attention. I am deeply passionate about making the world better for others, but with that comes being aware of and in tune with that many painful experiences that are happening around the world. It can feel like too much some times. I poured on the cynicism, frustration, fatigue, and apathy for the last month or so and it affected my mood, my behavior, and my responses in a variety situations. The stress caused sleepless nights, general fatigue, and caused me to isolate myself. It wasn’t until I noticed how my body was reacting that I did something about it. I started looking for hope. I started looking for pockets of good things happening. I started find the hope that I needed to be reinvigorated and refueled to keep working toward a better world.
From my resilient camper, who in the face of great tragedy carried on with her family. From the conversations with passionated individuals seeking to do their part. From Team Refugee in the Olympics. From the love my cousin professed for his wife as we celebrated their new marriage recently. From the small, simple moments of positivity that come from seeing people laugh and smile. There is hope all around us and people doing their part.
A challenge to myself, and to anyone who reads this, is to look for the bright spots; to find inspiration and hope in those that are working alongside you, even when you can’t physically talk to them or see them. It is easy to see a broken world, one so broken that you can’t possibly see a better one. Fred Rogers said, ” When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” Look for the helpers. Look for the hope. We have to build a better world.