Discover more from Steady
Cultivating Reasons For Hope
Every day when we check the news, talk to family and friends, or even sit alone with our thoughts, we confront a grim and unmistakable reality: There is a lot of pain and suffering in this world. It manifests in many forms — entrenched injustices and new challenges.
Much of that which sustains us, from our democratic institutions to the health of our precious planet, is under threat. We can see both unchecked avarice and unmet need, wasted abundance and gripping hunger, cynical divisiveness and vicious bullying.
It is the job of journalists to bear witness to all that is wrong and share the truth with the public. The purpose of doing so, however, is not for an engaged electorate to wallow in hopelessness. It’s quite the opposite. We need to know what’s wrong so we can hold accountable those responsible and fix what is broken and rotten.
And this brings us to another reality that is too easily forgotten as we are inundated with catastrophes. While pain and suffering are abundant in this world, so are healing and resilience. In ways rarely captured in the news because it’s not considered newsworthy, countless millions of people go about their lives making our world healthier, safer, more just, and more empathetic.
One of the great joys of traveling to places near and far is a realization that we as humans are much more similar than we are different. And that similarity includes a basic goodness in most, an urge to help, to serve, and to mend.
So we thought we would use this space to share what gives us hope, and by “us” we mean all of us in this Steady community.
Tomorrow will undoubtedly bring new reasons for despair, but for now let us focus a bit on what is good.
Today, teachers are going up to children who are struggling and giving them support, inspiration, and a sense that they matter in the world. Nurses are making sure terminally ill patients find comfort and peace in their final moments. Young voters are starting on the road to a lifetime of activism. And those who have been in the struggle for decades find the courage to continue to march, organize, and lead.
Scientists are dreaming up new ways to explore the cosmos and unlock the mysteries of life. Arborists are planting trees, and conservationists are protecting forests. Children without parents are finding new families. And children with ailing parents are becoming caregivers to those who once cared for them.
A writer is starting a new story. A painter is mulling a final brush stroke. A composer hears a melody take shape.
Siblings laugh. Old friends meet for a weekly coffee. Years of estrangement end with a first tentative phone call.
Families gather to plant a community garden. Youth coaches teach their young athletes the importance of sportsmanship. Volunteers clean up trash on a public beach.
While there is still much work to be done, there have been significant strides in recent years toward greater social equality and justice. And the younger generations are far more tolerant than the ones that preceded them.
The amount of energy we are generating from renewable sources is growing and so are the sales of electric cars — not fast enough, but trend lines can continue to surprise us.
Cancer patients are gaining new hope with immunotherapy. Gene therapy is reversing the debilitating pain of sickle cell disease. And modern medicine is bringing new promise to many other once-intractable conditions.
When we look around us, in our daily lives, we can see many examples of people doing the right thing, even if they get no credit for it, even if it comes at personal cost or sacrifice. Specific acts of healing and help accrue, second by second, day by day, year by year. Through hard work and determination we collaborate to hold back the chaos and the despair.
We should search for new lenses and vantage points for how we see the world. We should not overlook everyday acts of heroism. We should recognize and embrace our common humanity.
At the same time, we cannot be Pollyannaish. There is a lot we cannot fix or that may not even be fixable. We must recognize those from communities who face the greatest odds and require allies in their fight for justice.
The nature of life is that it will always include pain and loss. But that does not mean that we are helpless or hopeless. We can do better, and we can help others. And we do. And it makes a difference. And it gives us hope.
And so do you, our Steady community.
We would love to hear what gives you hope in the comments.