This was a tough past few months for America. Or at least it was for me. Senseless violence blazed across the headlines and I found myself drawn into the drama, unable to look away. The wave of bad news culminated on live television as five Dallas police officers were gunned down while protecting the very people protesting against them.
Shock and bewilderment gave way to a feeling of hopelessness and fear. Then I got mad. Really mad.
I ranted and raved about the injustice of things and how this country, indeed our world, has seemingly lost its moral compass. "What is wrong with people?" I asked my husband.
It's so easy to give in to anger. I know I did. The politics of who was wrong and who was right isn't the agenda here. It's about the real presence of evil in this world and how we must be vigilant not to be drawn down into its depths and lose hope.
The profound quote by Friedrich Nietzsche at the top of my blog explains this truth better than I can ever hope to do. When we stare too long at the abyss of evil, it saps our faith and energy and makes us think we have no influence over it, that we're powerless to stop it.
I still believe good will always prevail over evil. No, I can't fix all of the world's problems, but I stand fast in my hope that each of us, in our own small way, can make this world a little better with acts of kindness and refusing to allow the darkness to extinguish our light of positivity.
Sounds good in theory. But let's get past the pretty words and get real. How can we make a difference in our circles of influence, big or small, in our daily lives? I came up with a few ideas.
- Have a thankful heart. We are blessed beyond measure with clean water, food to eat, and a roof over our heads. Everything else is luxury.
- Quit complaining about things that simply don't matter at the end of the day.
- Learn to forgive.
- For every negative statement you make about another person or situation, find something positive to say.
- Laugh more.
- Do something for another life - whether it be human, animal, or vegetation - every day. Feed a homeless cat or dog. Plant flowers or start a garden. Help someone in need with no expectation of anything in return.
- Play with your kids and grandkids.
- Look for needs in your community. Read to the residents at a nursing home, or volunteer at a local animal shelter or soup kitchen. Check on that elderly neighbor or sick friend and ask if they need anything.
- Hug someone!
- Tell someone hurting that you're thinking of them. A few simple words of encouragement can make a big difference in someone's life.
- Smile at strangers in the supermarket and say hello.
- Enjoy God's beautiful creation. Watch a sunrise or sunset. Capture nature with photographs. Take a walk in the woods or on the beach and take in the sights and smells and sounds.
- When all the bad news and headlines get to be too much, turn off the TV. Everyone has their limit. Learn where yours is and tune out the negativity before it becomes overwhelming.
- Nurture your marriages and relationships. Seek counseling if it's needed. Nothing is more important than family.
- Pray. It's amazing how your burdens and perspective will change.
I'd love to hear YOUR list! What changes do you plan to make in your life to push back against the abyss of negativity?
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