Sam: It’s like in the great stories Mr. Frodo, the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end it’s only a passing thing this shadow, even darkness must pass. A new day will come, and when the sun shines it’ll shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you, that meant something even if you were too small to understand why. But I think Mr. Frodo, I do understand, I know now folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?
Sam: That there’s some good in the world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.
This is just a quote from a fictional story, but it is no less true for us today than it was in their fictional world. Sometimes, the world does seem depressingly dark. Disregard for life. Wars and rumors of wars. Tit for tat in battles that never end.
What can I, just one person, do about any of it? How could I possibly change minds or affect hearts? Who would listen to the words of just one more voice added to the cacophony of voices shouting above the destruction? Some voices crying for love, others inciting evil.
Sometimes, it is too much. Too much death, and pain, and hate, and rage. Too much that makes me angry. So much hurt I want to shut myself from the world and wish that wishes could come true. I open my eyes, and the pain is still there. The hate. The blame. The targeting and marginalization.
I want to say something meaningful, to speak a light into the darkness. Just a single flame among the gathering storm. What can I say that hasn’t been said?
My heart breaks for the lives taken without cause, the broken receiving no justice. Retaliation resulting in more lives unnecessarily lost. Around and around it goes.
One thing has stuck with me though, has given me the strength to step forward, and do what I can to make a difference, if even a small one.
Look for the helpers.
There will always be abusers, but look for the helpers. There will always be destruction and death. Look for the helpers. Look for the ones making a positive change. The ones standing with the oppressed. The ones giving their time, money, and energy to making the world a better place, one person at a time.