Wars and rumors of war. Killer weather patterns. Strange viruses and diseases. Psychopaths killing for sport, gangs shooting gangs, mind-altering substances trafficked and ingested for recreational purposes. Government soldiers at every corner, politicians and bureaucrats conspiring to enslave.
In his classic statement of principles “As a Man Thinketh,” the philosopher James Allen wrote: “The will to do springs from the knowledge that we can do. Doubt and fear are the great enemies of knowledge, and he who encourages them, who does not slay them, thwarts himself at every step.”
It is hard to imagine a better way to foster fear and doubt than to provide, several times daily, a litany of horror and death, or even a constant news feed that bombards the senses with dozens of updates every minute.
There is a time and a place for these, I suppose, but more important is to contemplate the power of each individual to make the world better. Seek out the worst of humanity and you shall surely find it, especially in this modern world where information is everywhere and legions work hard to dig up the terror and the terrible.
Seek out the best, the encouraging, the acts of love, and you shall find they exist in far greater measure.
“The news” is newsworthy because it is a collection of aberrations, departures from the norm, when nature struck with fury instead of nurturing, when someone struck out instead of living in peace, when one airplane of thousands did not land safely.
My work notebook is in part a collection of good works and acts worth celebrating that go unrecognized because we do not have the resources to tell each and every one of those myriad grand stories – people who do their part daily to make the world a better place, acts of courage and giving, hard work that results in a fine or mighty accomplishment, a reunion of old friends and long-separated families.
The good that people do is often drowned out by the aberrations. But not always.
Seek out those things – the love, the good, the wise, the sound. They may not be as flashy or as sensational, but they are the foundation of a healthy life, they are the hope of a better world, and they exist in much greater quantity than the agents of hatred and violence and doubt and fear.
Give yourself over to the service of love and life, not hatred and death. We each have a finite number of days here. One day we will die; every other day we will live. Better to dwell on the promise of life than the fear of death.
Shared with the Door County Advocate