Looking back over the week that was, one could easily fall into despair. In Boston, happy families waiting to cheer a family member over the winning line, are blown up. We’re still not sure why. An earthquake rumbles in Pakistan and so far 35 are dead and 150 wounded; many more are left homeless. A fertiliser factory in Texas explodes and devastates half a town. Another drone in Afghanistan kills some more children. An old politician dies in the UK and the usually sedate, respectful Britons dance and cheer as if she was another Hitler. It’s the tenth anniversary for the prisoners in Guantanamo; still waiting to be charged with a crime. An attention seeking mother deliberately poisons her little daughter with chemotherapy drugs. Dolphins are dying in the Southern waters and no one knows the cause.
It’s enough to make people start digging a bunker in their back yard, where they can live out their days in ignorant bliss about the rest of the mad, selfish, miserable world.
But, before you bring in the earth-moving equipment and start stocking up canned food, wait a moment. Think about this: when the bomb blew up in Boston many, many people ran towards the blast to help the victims. In Texas ordinary citizens, many of them poor and disenfranchised, started pulling the wounded out of burning rubble with their bare hands. In Pakistan, people covered in dust and scratches dug out neighbours and strangers, regardless of their religious affiliation. And, in spite of being vilified, criticised and ridiculed, many people around the world continue to agitate for the better treatment of political prisoners, asylum seekers and the environment.
In the midst of panic, chaos, trauma and grief, we find everyday heroes doing their bit to make the world a better place. In spite of the ugliness that tries to engulf our little blue planet, beauty, joy and hope still rise above it. Birds still sing and so do we.
Let’s all choose to see beauty and to believe for a better day. If possible, if the opportunity arises, let’s be everyday heroes. Let’s choose to run towards the need, not away from it.
Stop for a few seconds; take a deep breath; be thankful you’re alive and be glad. (Here endeth the lesson.)