Saturday, December 15, 2012

Hope in a dark time

Like so many people around the world I’ve woken up to the awful news of the shooting in a Connecticut school. Children aged five to 10, the same ages as my nieces and goddaughters, have died.  This is a horrendous crime.

Last night I wrote a sweet, light, little story on my blog about singing Christmas carols in the evening rain and feeling for myself the love, joy and peace the service was built around.

Twelve hours later the world has been rocked but I don’t want to give up hope for that same love, joy and peace for the world.

In my article yesterday I mentioned my friend Angel and how she taught me the names of Santa’s reindeer. Angel lives in the US and my thoughts and love go to her family today. And I want to share another quote she found. It is by American academic and historian Howard Zinn.

“Every word you utter to another human being has an effect, but you don’t know it.  If people begin to understand that change comes about as a result of a million tiny acts that seem totally insignificant, well then, they wouldn’t hesitate to take those tiny acts.”

I’ve written before about my own experiences of unprovoked violence and grief of losing a loved one. I am not going to pretend that what I experienced is anything like the horror and overwhelming misery people in that Connecticut town are feeling. I’m not a nurse, doctor, police office or counsellor, all of whom are on the front line in an event like this and all of whom go to work each day and perform extraordinary feats. My only tools are my words and my keyboard, both of which seem so inadequate today.

All I want to do today is share my hope that people will perform those tiny acts of kindness Zinn refers to. We might feel our sphere of influence is limited, but just by being kind and courteous we may be helping someone or even diffusing a situation without knowing it.

Today I walked my dog around my neighbourhood. It is quiet today, partly because of the light rain that falls intermittently and partly because people are watching the news. Every time I saw someone though we smiled at each other and wished each other good morning. It might not seem much but I believe that letting people know you see them and that they matter might just give them hope when they are going through their own dark time.

I most sincerely wish you all peace. 

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