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Somehow, in the Face of Tragedy, There is Hope


I am friends with a couple who was recently thinking maybe they wouldn’t have kids.

“What kind of a world would we be bringing a child into?” she asked, her eyebrows rising in despair.

They are both dear friends of mine. He is actually one of the finest people I know – smart, fair, generous, kind. All I could think was that it's a tragedy that this person wouldn’t be leaving a legacy. That the good would just drop off once he and those who he directly influences pass on. As, one by one, those souls fade away, so to would his – to sound a little kooky – force of good.

“You can’t do that,” I said, sounding maybe a little childlike. “That just lets the bad win.”

There are so many days lately, too many, that I go to bed telling my husband we are going to move to an island off the coast of Canada yet to be rattled by a natural disaster and small enough that the rage of any alienated citizens can be ameliorated by a vigilant baker-mom.

But then I realize this just isn’t an answer.

Hope comes in the form of action. I don’t have enough wealth to be a benefactor or the time to be a great volunteer, but I’ve got enough in me to share a smile, to hold a door, to give of the tiny, daily kindnesses that feed the chain of humanity that will always win out over the crazies and the bads.

Bless the people that flew in from far and wide to help people dig muck out of their homes after Sandy, and those that will carry a candle for the many Newtown vigils. The human spirit is bigger and stronger than the inconceivably horrible thing that happened today.

I’m not a traditionally religious person, but I believe deeply in the ripple effect and that it takes actions big and small to save the world. May the losses suffered by the Newtown families today change all our lives.

It is on every single one of us to do what they can to create a community of man that can withstand the forces of death and destruction.

I am angry and I am sad and I am scared, but somehow, as I look around those I love and those that keep me on the right track every day – the guy I buy coffee from every morning who tells me to have a nice day, the editors I work with who would never miss a colleague’s birthday, the bus driver who doesn’t grimace when I hold up the line by letting my kid insert the fare, all the subway riders who gave up seats for me when I had a pregnant belly – somehow, in the face of the devastation we see today, I find hope.