Last night while we crawled into bed, my husband looked at me with tears in his eyes.
He said, “I just read the news.”
I didn’t bother to ask which news. Was it the Senate vote to defund Planned Parenthood? Was it this weeks NYT profile on Robert Dear? Is it more fear from the Paris shootings? Is it the federal lawsuit filed by the state of Texas to stop Syrian families from being resettled there?
Yes. It’s all of those things.
I woke up this morning thinking about what to do. Here’s what I would tell my sister or a friend or you if you wanted my thoughts on how you can help build peace in a world that feels so very chaotic. Here’s my answer for right now. Here’s where you start: If you see something, say something.
The DHS has been using this slogan for years now. But here’s the secret: It works even more powerfully for good.
If you see something hopeful, wonderful, peaceful, happy, positive, SAY SOMETHING.
Yes, there are terrible things happening. Yes, we have to stand up and speak out about these things. But the problem isn’t that regular people are ignoring terrible things. The problem is that we don’t know what to do about it. What does a normal everyday person do about the terrible things happening somewhere else.
“The decision to be positive is not one that disregards or belittles the sadness that exists. It is rather a conscious choice to focus on the good and to cultivate happiness.” This is a quote I have written on a card at my desk from Christopher Aiff, the subject of a minidoc made by SoulPancake. Three years ago, Aiff was 21 and facing the last days of his life.
“Happiness is not a limited resource,” he says. He’s right. Neither is peace. There is so much of it that the terror, the fear, the despair at terrible things… it can truly be overwhelmed if we cultivate happiness.
If you want to fight for good, start here: If you see something, say something. Remember that there are amazing, wonderful things in this world. Practice seeing them. Practice sharing them.
It’s not about overwhelming the negative. It’s about seeing the good and sharing it, building our collective memory of every wonderful things around us. It’s this memory, this belief, that sustains us in times of terrible things.
And then the sun rises again.
So, what good do you see around you?