Sometimes, I just feel like I feel, so much. Like I feel, everything. I’ll never forget the day the Sandy Hook shooting took place. It’s the only time that I recall myself being down on my knees in my living room, crying and praying in front of my TV. My heart breaking for those young, innocent souls.
Then, a few months later, in April of 2013, the Boston Marathon Bombing took place, only a week after I, along with a few college classmates and my husband, left a conference in Boston where I presented my senior thesis. I followed the news coverage every single day, feeling scared, paranoid, angry.
These are all things that make you heartsick.
“THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS” AREN’T ENOUGH
With everything that’s been happening lately, it’s hard to comprehend the fact that we possibly live in the safest time in human history.
The news just travels faster. We follow the tragedies as they occur; whether it be across the world or across the country, and it all sometimes just seems like a lot. It seems like too much. We begin to question “why?”, “how?”
We often just “send our thoughts and prayers” and after a couple of days, we move on with our lives. Maybe we don’t necessarily forget, but we’ve sort of accepted those things as the norm.
DO YOUR PART
Just like a lot of people I’ve been speaking to lately, I’m a bit over the “thoughts and prayers.” Both are really nice, lovely, sometimes even expected, but how much do they help, really? Thoughts and prayers alone, don’t change things.
I do this thing whenever I see a car that’s pulled over, an ambulance rushing, a blind person crossing the street, a police officer on the job, where I always stick my hand out the window of my car and wave my fingers at them. I call this “sending blessings” or “good vibes” and since I began to do that, it’s a habit that my entire family has adopted. Sometimes I do ask myself though, is that more about me, and me making myself feel better, or is it about the other person?
We need to do our part. And it doesn’t always have to be anything complicated. It doesn’t need to be something that has to do with a tragedy. We don’t have to wait for something horrible to happen to hug our loved ones a little tighter, to hold them a little closer.
Helping an older neighbor. Donating to a good cause. Donating food to a local food bank. Sponsoring a child living in a third world country. Volunteering. Donating blood. Signing up to donate bone marrow. Showing appreciation to all the people that keep us safe.
There are so many little things we can do, to change someone’s day. To change someone’s life. To even save someone’s life.
Making a change isn’t as difficult as you might think it is. 1 in 6 people in America faces hunger. 49 millions of Americans struggle to put food on the table. You might have neighbors who have kids who go to bed hungry, and you might not even realize it. These are some of the things we don’t always think about.
I know that helping sometimes seems complicated. Not everyone has time to volunteer. Not everyone has time to help. But with places like feedingamerica.org, 1 dollar can provide 10 meals. It’s less than a cup of coffee, yet it can make such a difference.
If you’re looking for other places to donate, consider some of these:
FOCUS ON THE GOOD
To be quite honest, I wasn’t really sure where I was going with this post when I first started to write it. I guess I’ve just been feeling a bit drained and lost and confused lately. But it also made me realize that it’s up to all of us, to make things better for the rest of us. Seeing everything that’s been happening in places like Texas, Puerto Rico, Las Vegas, Mexico, I can’t help but focus on all the people who come to the rescue. The people who help, people who save lives, often risking their own.
Yes, bad things happen all the time. The sad part is, they will probably continue to happen. But we can’t let that discourage us from living. From having fun. We can’t let that leave us feeling afraid. We have to focus on the good. On all the people who help, aid, save and inspire every day.
I realize that there are a lot of things that are happening right now. Things that make you angry. That’s why you have to focus on the good. On the incredible people who are willing to help strangers, in times of despair.
Sometimes it feels like the world has gone to shit. But there is just so much good out there. There is so much good, but unless you pay attention to it, there’s no way for you to notice it.
And the last thing I want to remind you of is very simple.
I’ve dealt with my share of difficult people in my life, but I always look at them, thinking that they weren’t born that way. You can never guess or predict if someone is going through something heavy in their life. Whether it be the girl at the coffee shop who seems distracted and messes up your order, the grumpy man at the gas station, your sad co-worker- try to be a little kinder. Give someone a smile, even if it’s just a stranger passing you on the street.
Every big change begins with a small, single step.
Like I said, I wasn’t really sure where I was going with this post. I don’t usually talk about things like these, but I just kind of felt like I needed to do my part. Just because I don’t always address these things on social media, doesn’t mean that I’m ignorant, or that I don’t feel the pain. That I don’t feel the loss, or that I don’t feel just as confused as the rest of you. I just know that in a lot of these situations, we often feel helpless and sending “thoughts and prayers” is the only way for us to express our feelings. Our sadness, pain, and anger.
We do need to do better than that though. We need to be kind to each other and remember that we’re all one. If it takes only one person to bring so much tragedy and darkness into our lives, think about how much light and love we can all create, together.
Sending all my love your way.