Yesterday I heard the kind of story that made me feel every ugly feeling I imagine exists. The kind about people who have done horrible, unimaginable things. It was the kind of story that felt like poison in my body and in my soul.
I don’t like thinking about stories like that. I don’t like how they make me feel. With all that I am I wish we lived in a world without abusers and crooks and exploiters. The truth is that we do. People get hurt. Children get hurt… sometimes on purpose… sometimes on purpose by people who should protect them.
I am a praying person, so last night as the poison of that story swirled around in my soul I prayed a lot. I prayed some anger about it, I prayed some frustration and tears, I prayed looking for hope because stories like the one I heard can leave you feeling like there isn’t any. Last night I felt that way… like every person was a bad person and nobody could be trusted. I prayed to know what I could do to be part of a solution and what solution there could possibly be.
I don’t have answers to all of my questions, but I did find some. The answers I got told me that making a difference includes being a good mother to my own children and every child I have the privilege of interacting with…my nieces and nephews, the children at church, the children in my neighborhood, the children I meet everywhere I go, and doing whatever I can to make sure that they feel safe and loved and cherished. My answers told me that the news would not give me an accurate gauge for what happens in most homes, and that the overwhelming majority of mothers and fathers are extraordinarily protective and loving and affectionate toward their children, and to other people’s children. Most people would lay down their lives not only to protect their own children, but to protect any child.
My answers told me that some people experience unfathomable things at the hands of selfish, careless people, but that most are good and kind and helpful. This quote came to mind…
“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.”
Hearing stories like the one I heard makes me want to gather every hurt child in the world and give them all the love and nurturing to learn and grow the way they should be allowed to. My answers told me I would not be able to rescue every single hurting person in the world. But that I would be able to help some.
I think when we hear poisonous stories it’s easy to feel poisoned. It’s easy to fall into a black hole of terror and worry and hopelessness for the world we live in. Sometimes it’s easy to think the only way things are going to get better is if somebody comes to push the reset button on this world.
I don’t believe in a reset button. I believe in you and me and Love and the power we have together to change the world. I believe it’s our job to do something today and every day to make it a better place. It’s our job to believe in goodness and to spread goodness and love as far and wide as we can. It’s our job to protect the innocent and give hope to the hopeless…. to shine light in dark places.
Each of us will find and be able to reach different kinds of dark places in the world, and I think as long as we keep looking for them and lighting them up, we will make a difference. The world is full of good people with a few misinformed ones sprinkled in. They do not make up the majority… we do. It’s our job not only to be good people, but to be good people who do good things and strengthen the whole family of the earth.
Here’s my challenge to you and our family is taking it, too. It’s a challenge straight from the Boy Scouts…. to do a good turn daily. Every single day find a way to be a helper. Go out of your way. Watch out for the people around you and when you see a need, fill it. Be a helper wherever you go…shine a light. Help one person, then another and another.
We can do this. We must.