I wanted to write this post last night while the feeling of yesterday’s events were still fresh in my mind, but I decided against it. I don’t believe in writing from an overly emotional place, and yesterday I had to take a step back. I needed to give myself time to process what had happened
Now I’m ready to take a breath, and type.
Earlier this week, there was a shooting at a mall in my area which left two people dead. As I’m sure all of you know, there was a horrific shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut yesterday which claimed many lives, most of which were children’s. Also in the news yesterday, a man stabbed 22 children outside a primary school in China. After hearing about these acts of unspeakable violence, my first thoughts were, “What the fuck has happened to people?”
I cried. For the victims, for the families of the victims, for the people who will forever be haunted by the events, for everyone who lost a little faith in humanity.
I used to be very cynical and pessimistic, believing that people will screw you over when given the chance. “The world is full of opportunists” I’d say, and I meant that. I looked at everyone as though they were a suspect in a crime they had not yet committed. Innocent until proven guilty? No way. Guilty until proven innocent.
Things changed along the way. With the exception of the birth of my nephew (which humbled me in so many ways) it wasn’t one or two major events that altered my outlook. It was that I began letting stories of good in this world impact me as much as the stories of bad. I started to realize there is so much benevolence in this world, it just doesn’t get the same recognition as tragic events do. We bury our beauty in our inhumanity.
Please don’t misunderstand, we should be informed of the things happening around us. I’m not asking anyone to erase history. I’m simply trying to illustrate that we are inundated with so much negative information that it’s easy to forget how many positive things are happening in our world.
Take these news stories for example:
“Random acts of kindness in Saskatoon by mother and son” (this story is a great example of how small things have a huge impact)
For every one act of inhumane behavior, there are dozens of acts of service towards our fellow (wo)man. I refuse to believe that humanity is doomed because it’s not. Apathy and numbness doesn’t help, it only hurts. It hardens our hearts, and as someone who has been there, that’s the wrong place to be.
I’m not asking you to forget about these tragedies, or forgo discussing the underlying issues which caused them to occur. I’m simply asking you not to be swallowed up by the darkness in our world because there are beacons of light out there. They may be hard to see, but trust me, they’re there.
Today’s challenge is to perform your own act of kindness. Help someone with their groceries. Call up someone you haven’t talked to in a long time and tell them you’re thinking of them. Do the dishes even though it isn’t your turn. Donate $1 to your charity of choice. Buy someone a cup of coffee.
Whatever you choose to do, do it knowing that you’re putting back into the world what someone else tried to take away.
I won’t be awarding a prize today. I didn’t feel it was right to do that on this post. Instead, I’ll be giving away two things tomorrow.