I have been feeling very upset by events in the world this past…year and a half, really. It seems like every day, there is untimely death due to violence, debilitating inequality, and pure hate towards individuals and groups. Just this week, two young boys who embarked on a fishing trip off the coast of Florida have gone missing, a dentist killed a beautiful lion in Zimbabwe for no apparent reason, and as the 2016 presidential election draws closer, every new channel shows clips of candidates chastising and blaming the others for issues in our nation, many times dismissing them as simply “stupid”.
Violence bothers me, in fact, it makes me physically sick. As a chaplain, I can’t help but immediately put myself in the shoes of family members and friends who lose loved ones due to violence, especially young people. What really makes me feel upset is the rampant dehumanization and lack of dialogue in my country, and the lack of attention we give to stories of people working together, despite differences. In the work that I do as a college chaplain, I see students work together and learn from each other every day, despite sometimes radically different worldviews. I believe that in order to repair this broken world, to end our suffering both individually and collectively, not only do we need to start listening to those who disagree with us, but we need to hear stories of success.
I hope to do just that with this space. Seeing the success of my students and those around me when they learn from people who are different than them, and subsequently take action together to make their communities better, keeps me motivated to shake my head at those who say we have reached the point of no return. Our world is messed up, they say. They are right- our world is messed up, but it is not entirely dark. People are doing fantastic work every day to improve the lives of those around them, and these stories need to be shared. Even stories that seem trite or actions we take for granted should be lifted up to show us that our work does have meaning, it does have impact. Thank you for reading.
Inspiration for the week: “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”
― Dalai Lama XIV,