It’s heavy, isn’t it? All this stuff happening in our world? It makes me feel sad and angry and fearful and all of those other emotions that erupt simultaneously when senseless acts of violence occur. But it also makes me feel helpless, and that might be the worse feeling of all.
Three years ago, I wrote an article for my Kindness is Contagious column. I want to share it with you now. The stories may have changed, but the meaning stands. You don’t have to go far to find the light in a very dark world.
“If the darkest hour comes before the light, where is the light? Where is the light? Where is the light???”
Those words are from the song “Ave Mary A” by P!nk. I’ve listened to that song for years, and yet this week, I felt like I heard it for the first time.
I was thinking about the community of West Fargo, N.D. and how many hearts are breaking at the recent deaths of five students in five separate incidents over a seven-week period. I was thinking about the residents of Newtown, Conn., and how the halls of Sandy Hook Elementary will forever seem haunted by one evil act. I was thinking about the sex trafficking and molestation in America of girls my daughter’s age. I was thinking about the amount of people right here in our town who are working so hard to make ends meet and yet have to worry about how they will feed their kids because they don’t qualify for assistance.
I was wondering how much darker things need to get before we see the light. And then I realized something. We are the light.
Every time we smile at a stranger, pause a moment longer to hold the door for someone, or just prefer someone’s needs over our own, we add light to this world.
NBC News Correspondent Ann Curry started a movement that’s gone viral. In response to the shooting deaths in Connecticut, Curry suggested that we honor the lives of those lost by committing 26 acts of kindness. People all over the country are joining in and posting their points of light on Twitter and Facebook.
In its own way, the movement has made it here, too. A Fargo woman and her two children were at West Acres Shopping Mall on Christmas Eve when an elderly man wearing an oxygen tube slowly walked over and handed her $130. He said he wanted to bless some children in honor of the Sandy Hook students. The woman he gave the money to happened to be a kindergarten teacher. She gave the money to her school counselors who used it to buy milk for kids who couldn’t afford a drink at snack time. We are the light.
A single mom sent out a desperate plea on WomensImpact.org for help making her car payments. She was on the brink of losing her vehicle and, without transportation, her three jobs. A stranger, who had once had to flee an abusive relationship and become a single mom, too, offered to help. We are the light.
An assistant coach for the North Dakota State men’s basketball team was in Brookings, S.D., for last weekend’s game when he found out his little girl was in a Fargo emergency room. An assistant for South Dakota State gave him his car so he could hurry home. We are the light.
A local boy read a story in The Forum newspaper on Jan. 18 (2013) about the woman who spent her 25th birthday doing 25 random acts of kindness. He thought it was such a great idea that he celebrated turning 13 by committing his own 13 acts of kindness. His mom took the day off of work to help him. We are the light.
My heart hurts over the pain of this world so much sometimes that it feels like I can’t breathe. And then I remember that we are the light.
If you find yourself frustrated over other people’s behavior or evilness that seems out of your control, I encourage you to fight back. Take away the darkness by becoming the light.