Why does it seem so hard to come across anything uplifting these days?
Realize that I chose this topic for today’s gratitude long before so many actors have been accused as sexual abusers. Before a gunman fired his weapon in a small Texas church. Insert any recent story and it’s probably something that will make you think the world is ready to implode on itself and everything is becoming increasingly corrupt.
I get it. It’s hard to not be cynical when all you see is the same kind of message on repeat. By this point, it’s been drilled into our minds so often on a regular basis, we aren’t even shocked anymore. Like the Texas shooting. I mean, I was certainly outraged and heartbroken, but I sure wasn’t surprised. The actual event and its circumstances didn’t reach that emotional core that past events have. Even the heavy focus on the shooter’s mental health hasn’t fired me up like it usually does as we continue to misrepresent and overgeneralize the intentions of violent people.
Really, this is how it has always been. We just hear more of it because we have the technological capacity to. We can download news apps on our phones, even have notifications pop up when there’s breaking news, and when does something positive and heartfelt actually make that “breaking news” cycle? Rarely. You save those for the end of a TV broadcast to convince viewers, even just for a few minutes, that everything is just fine, that the endless tragedy and disaster mentioned in the past half hour doesn’t actually reflect what society is coming to.
And from my tone today, it’s hard to find that slither of gratitude that I usually pull into the mix. For situations like this, it really is hard to be grateful. I choose to not read much news anymore because it throws off any attempt to find hope and optimism. Despite knowing that each story is prioritized on my news feed strategically, that the headlines magnify what has happened to exploit whatever emotions it can muster, I don’t think it’s healthy to expose myself to those sources.
I truly am grateful for the opportunity to stay informed about my community, country and world. I am grateful to be able to engage in discussion and learn about what is happening around me and avoid ignorance of important current events. It’s my duty as a citizen of this country and world to do what I can. Except immersing myself completely in every update isn’t healthy.
In lies where I’m grateful for when there are gaps in the overwhelming noise to remind ourselves of our true nature, and that is to be and do good. I’m grateful to hear how others are making a positive difference in the world, big or small. For example, remember back to what feels like years ago when we all came together to support hurricane victims, the support and disaster relief efforts? How we stepped aside from our everyday lives to help those in need.
But I’m especially grateful for when we are supportive without having an extremely negative reason to begin doing so. Like supporting sexual assault victims long before the accusations of big-name celebrities began emerging. Or advocating for climate change before we damage the environment even more.
As silly as they may seem, I do really appreciate those random little videos on social media people share that talk about seemingly insignificant things, like some random new scientific discovery or a minute-long story about a baby animal, but seriously, what a refreshing relief from logging onto other news outlets. They might seem trivial if you’re looking for hard news, but there’s a balance we need to establish to stay both informed and emotionally sound.
I’m grateful for good news to provide that extra push we sometimes need to make a change. Too drastic of news can be debilitating, too large of a problem for one person to single-handedly address. But what about some inspiration from others doing good in the world? A single reason that not everything is going downhill? Little things add up to bigger things. And seeing how others, people just like us, are still trudging forward, even if it’s through thorny obstacles and muddy waters, can be that one reason a day becomes a good day.
I have always enjoyed the saying, “Not every day is good, but there is something good in every day.” We might continue to focus on every reason why we should be worried, terrified, heartbroken, angry, and pessimistic about the direction the world seems to be taking, but we’ll never be able to silence that sliver of hope and beauty that leads us back to the innumerable blessings in our lives. For every time something goes wrong, chances are there are many more things, now or to come, that ensure the sun still shines. That we will continue to rise each morning with something beautiful to live for.
Perhaps dramatic, but seriously. I’m so grateful for hearing good news. Something turning out well for those I care about and those I might never meet. A new reason to smile today. A recent discovery that might change our lives as we know them. Let us not diminish the value of these faint rays of light.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie