Monday, July 23, 2012

Fostering Hope

This world can at times be a difficult place in which to live.

As individuals, we each endure our own personal tragedies. The kinds that make it difficult to face the day. The kinds that change the course of our lives. And as our suffering is extremely personal, we can be left feeling isolated.

As a collective, we look aghast at the larger scale devastations that occur. We don’t necessarily know any of the people involved personally, but our stomachs clench and our hearts hurt. We want to be able to do something, anything to help. But no contribution seems substantial enough. And in some ways, we’re right. We are powerless to change the bad things that have already happened.

We can, however, take steps to restore a sense of hope in the world. These generally aren’t major things that are going to alter humanity in a manner that will be discussed hundreds of years from now in history classes. They’re small things, which at the time seem like a spit in the ocean. But they make us smile, even if only for a second. And slowly, as all these little things pile up, the smiles last longer and the feeling of hope begins to outweigh that of sadness. It’s not a short process, but it’s well worth endeavoring.

As someone who often mentions my love for the fictional heroes who inspire, I do not have sufficient words for my admiration for real life heroes. I have been blessed with a great many in my life, who have lifted me up during my worst times. As I become more and more active on the internet, I keep finding examples of the good in the world. There is a lot of it. And it’s worth taking note of.

If you are currently looking for something to inspire you, or a way for you to inspire others, I offer the following:

  • The Traveling Red Dress – The Bloggess Jenny Lawson has inspired people to reach out and help others cope with hard times and celebrate milestones through the sending and photographing of red dresses.
  • Superheroes for Sam – ThinkGeek is getting the word out about a very simple way you can make a six year old boy with leukemia feel a little better. 
  • Any Soldier – This site provides a way for you to send thoughts and thanks to our service members around the world.
  • “A Small Place for Nice Things” – Author Chuck Wendig offered a place on his blog for readers to talk about good things they have seen or experienced.  

These are just a very few examples. There are many, many more people using social media to promote hope. If there are other examples of these you would like to share, please leave them in the comments.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims of the Aurora shooting and their loved ones, as well as to everyone who is currently going through a time of struggle.

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