I found it difficult to know where to begin with this one. Impossible, even, as the days passed and each one was painted with another tragedy. Another reminder of the darkness absorbing our world.
Every morning I wake up and turn to my phone almost expecting to find further devastation. In the past few months alone, evil has spread its fingers and taken innocence in its grip incessantly. Its path has been relentless, the media barely unable to come up for air from the sheer weight of it all. And don’t even get me started on those stories that don’t quite make the cut. The trauma that takes a back seat from the lives deemed unworthy of the front page.
I see and hear stories of people barely older than myself having to carry the burden of debilitating illnesses and injuries. Kind, loving people. Gentle souls hit by a cruel twist of fate. I watch as the impact crawls out over their friends and family. I am in awe of their sheer bravery.
I then take myself to social media and the news. And my heart sinks as I see time and time again people turning to hostility and anger in these times of anguish. Hatred breeding hatred. The toxicity making its way into their own veins, passing through their blood until the pain? Well, the pain has won. The pain of immorality has finally drained us of love until only loathing remains.
I understand. I do, truly. We are living in a time where precious human lives are never safe. Where the weak are preyed open and forced to stay in the shadows. Where the inhumane becomes commonplace and we are quickly becoming immune, expectant, to acts of terror.
And it’s so easy to drown in it all. When you look around and see only death and destruction? Sometimes it feels as if the only option is to let yourself fall. To accept that the world is beyond repair, take a deep breath and fill your lungs with contempt and misery. It’s the instinctive choice, I guess.
Yet… I think we have another choice. I think, rather than drowning, we can use these times of turmoil to flourish. We can turn the contempt into compassion and live a life where love prevails. Focus on those in need rather than the perpetrators. Yes, the injustice will kick you hard in the chest. And oh it will hurt. But let it out. Every single bit. Let it pour out of your body until only the light remains.
As cliche as it may be, live every day as if it’s your last. That doesn’t mean you have to be travelling the world… or that you have to be jumping out of planes and bungee jumping your way into an existence of pure adventure. Just live happily. Stretch out your hands and tightly take hold of the things that bring you joy. If the stars are love, never stop reaching for the sky and losing yourself amongst those clouds.
Be you. Authentically you. Because you are beautiful and perfect, and life is too short to forget that.
And do what you can to help those less fortunate. Whether it’s a few simple words of support or a fully blown fundraising appeal; know that one person really can make a difference, in their own unique way. Throw solidarity in the face of the monsters who want only to break the world apart. That will hit them harder than a furiously crafted tweet, believe me.
Most of all, be strong. For we have not reached the end of the suffering. The grief will grow and torture will once again raise its heavy head. But we will stand together. We will be the change. We will be the light.
And friend…right now, that’s the most important thing we can be.