Devastation has been ravaging the world lately. Close to home, I’ve been watching the news of the California wildfires forcing people out of their homes, taking lives, and destroying entire cities. Just three days ago, a mass shooting occurred at a bar in Thousand Oaks. There is the aftermath of hurricanes leaving people without food and water. There is pain, so much pain.
And as a writer, as a Christian, as a human I feel this heavy responsibility to write about each of these things, to give them the attention they need, to care and manifest that care in the best way I can. But I can’t always broach every topic; I can’t—I don’t have the ability to touch on every single thing. And that leaves me unsatisfied.
I want to write about the important things. I long to make people feel known, seen, and heard. My ultimate desire is that people—in all corners of the world and in all walks of life—know they’re not alone.
And so I write about positivity.
I write about love and light. I write about hope, and faith, and self-love, and strength, and how, even in the darkness we can find the will to keep going if we trust, if we fight, if reach out to one another.
These are the primary topics of my work because I’m terrified of what will happen if we succumb to negativity and falsely believe that’s all there is.
I write about this because I’ve seen things bloom in the driest parts of the earth. I’ve seen love pull people from devastation. I’ve seen foundations built from tragic accidents, and forgiveness change the trajectory of people who were heading down unfathomably terrible paths. I’ve seen people take the worst possible scenarios and rebuild something beautiful. I’ve seen positivity work again and again—and so I built my message, my company, my life around that belief.
I know that even in my imperfection, even as one small person in the big scheme of this world, even as someone who’s not a politician or a world leader—I can make a difference by choosing to spread hope in the brokenness. We all can.
But hope is not enough.
Commenting ‘thoughts and prayers,’ on someone’s status does not actively shift what’s happening to them. Re-sharing a post about something you agree with does not make change. Telling someone ‘I’m here for you,’ but doing nothing to really show up is meaningless. There must be action, too.
When we say we support a cause, we should actively (financially, physically, etc.) support it. When we say we want a change, we should take the steps to make that happen. When we care about someone or something, we should do things that manifest that care.
This goes beyond posting content on our social media pages, beyond a re-share of a political party message that we haven’t taken the time to fully research, understand, or stand behind. It goes beyond pacifying people’s emotions with ‘I’m here,’ without actually standing by their side. Beyond the blanket ‘I’m praying for you,’ and instead becomes an, ‘I am praying for you and here I am doing this to actively support you and what’s happening.’
Love and light is not enough. There must be a doing, a deciding to be more than a person sitting behind a computer screen or walking through this life without a sense of true direction.
There must be a questioning: ‘What can I do?’ when you don’t know, and then listening to the responses. There must be a willingness to learn, to set aside what you believe in in order to support someone else, first. There must be a humility in remembering that someone else’s pain will look and feel different than yours, but it’s not any less valid.
Yes, you can pray. By all means, pray until your heart bleeds. But don’t stop there.
Donate to the hurricane or wildfire relief funds, give your blood, call your local government officials, vote for who you want to see in office, research different political stances to form your own, send money to those who are struggling, share your perspectives (while heeding your personal biases) and open up to people about your feelings.
Say what you mean, but back it up. Support people with your faith, but be sparked into action, too. Raise your voice in anger, or raise your voice in positivity and love—but remember that whichever you choose, stagnancy is the enemy. Not one another.
Featured Image Credit: Candice Picard