On Despair. And Hope

Hey you. Yeah, you. I see you, and I know how you are feeling. I see it in your eyes. I hear it in the way you talk about things, the tentative way you choose to reveal yourself. There is something brimming just below the surface, something I have seen before. Seen in myself, many times.

It’s despair.

You are overwhelmed. Every day you wake to face the world amidst an onslaught of new horrors and for every small thing you can think to do, a dozen or more Machiavellian plots are unleashed by people who seemingly have unlimited resources of money and power. How can you, just a regular, everyday person, possibly make a difference against such might?

So you curl up in ball and hide under the covers, hoping they never find you. Hoping it will all go away. Knowing that it will not.

I hear this situation described several times a day; on the internet and in daily interactions. Folks wondering what they can do, if anything. Folks expressing a crushing hopelessness, a feeling that there is nothing they can do that can matter.

But there is. Small everyday actions matter. You don’t have to be a superhero sweeping in with your fancy cape. You don’t need Batman’s fancy gadgets.

We can create alternative worlds, small havens that model the culture we want to live in. Places that are safe for all beings. We can do this by creating gatherings, events, even small circles. Dinners within our communities. We can create or support businesses that are fair to employees, that share profits, that create healthy environments. We can create or support non-profits that solve specific problems.  We can support organizations who have the muscle to fight against the worst offenses, and who work to preserve nature. We can grow food and share it. We can get to know our neighbors. We can listen to the struggles of others. Just listening, and not dismissing, can go so far in restoring hope to fight another day.

We can’t solve everything, but we can push back a lot, and create safe havens within a toxic world. If enough of us do, even just a little, we will outnumber those doing damage.

Never believe that a small act of resistance or kindness can’t change the world. A small ripple can become a wave, and those waves touch others and inspire others to create their own waves. Many small actions become change.

While we still draw breath, there is time. There is a chance to make good, to mitigate suffering. Let us do what we can, for the simple joy of doing it.

Therein lies the restoration of hope.

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