By Lamar Stockton, International Operations Director
“Onward with Hope.” My friend Carlos signed off on a conversation earlier this week with that simple phrase, and it hit me right between the eyes. I keep hearing from so many people, including the ringing voice inside my head, that life is overwhelming right now. Our world is so overwhelming. Everything is hard…yes. Yet, for many, it always has been. Maybe it’s just relentlessly in front of our faces in a way that it has never been before. Or perhaps this pandemic has magnified or uncovered problems that were already there. Either way, more often than not, if you’re paying attention, it feels like it’s just too much to handle. Well, I’m here to tell you that it IS too much to handle… but maybe we’re not supposed to handle it, at least not all of it.
The news cycles are relentless. Global, national, local, neighborhood, family news…even the weather! It can all leave us feeling helpless, or worse yet, hopeless. Covid, Delta, our kids going back to school, masks or no masks, vaccines or not, polarizing politics, wildfires, global warming, Afghanistan…oh, Afghanistan. And within our Help One Now ecosystem… Ethiopia is at war with itself, Uganda is on lockdown, Malawi and Zimbabwe are battling Covid surges and struggling economies, and the crises are stacking up in Haiti…oh, Haiti.
How can our beautiful world suffer so deeply? How can our friends and family endure such hardship? How can our brothers and sisters around the globe survive one more crisis? How can we sit silently in systems of oppression? And, as Believers, as global citizens, as people who care…how can we hold space for lament without losing hope?
Here is where I lean on the wise words of my friend, Charles Lee: “If your heart breaks for (fill in the blank), then do something. Hopelessness and heartbrokenness will not change anything, but love in action will. May our love last longer than the news cycle and compel us to do what we can.”
Yes! Thank you, Charles! Do something! And don’t just do something when tragedy strikes. If all we ever do is react to suffering, then we may never actually alleviate it. Do something good consistently, on an ongoing basis. Find something you believe in and invest in it regularly. That’s how we build a better world. That’s how we foster hope and build resilience…it’s doing good in the in-between times that matter most…that’s where progress is made. It’s what my friend Chris calls “the beauty of the mundane.” Slow, steady, consistent steps forward.
So, today, let’s make some new headlines. Let’s have a Day of Hope because we believe that:
Progress is struggling forward, slowly but surely, day after day.
Joy is still more contagious and compelling than cynicism.
Peace is possible when we work through the pain.
Love is still the most powerful force in the world.
Hope will rise up through the cracks of suffering.