The past week has really gotten me thinking. It seems like it has a lot of us thinking.
First, the horrific shooting in Orlando, a hate-fueled massacre taking 50 precious lives. Then the unimaginable catastrophe of the alligator at Walt Disney World drowning a two-year-old boy. As a parent, learning of both of these - very different kinds of tragedies - was gut-wrenching.
It made me want to do something. Anything. But what?
In times like this, it's easy to feel completely overwhelmed by the evil that exists among us. We live in a broken world. Bad things happen. For reasons that make no sense, and maybe, never will.
That passion for bringing in more good into the world that is reignited in response to a devastating tragedy like the Orlando shootings can be squashed by the enormity of the concerns, the fear, the uncertainty of the times we live in. We can stop in our tracks thinking, "Really? I'm one person. What can I really do?" We may feel like, if we don't have the resources to start a global initiative, it isn't worth it.
But it so is.
There is hope because we can do so much right where we are. We don't need a global platform to start positive change. Just BE the change. Be the example. You have a circle of influence in your world. Start there and it will multiply.
Over the weekend, when I thought about "What can I do?" two words came to mind: strong and kind. I can be strong and kind. I want to be these both so desperately, to be an example to the three kids in my home who are watching my every move. For my friends and family who are feeling uncertain in their decisions, in parenting, in faith - even just in life in general. And I want to be surrounded by the strength and kindness of others. Don't we all?
When we're feeling defeated by the ugly we see in this fallen world, we can find hope knowing that we can plant the seeds for change in our daily living. We can be strong: in faith, in character, in our beliefs, in our confidence, in admitting our mistakes and striving to be a better version of ourselves each day. We can be kind: to ourselves, to those who are kind to us and those who are not; to those we love, those we need, and those strangers who need us to show them some light in the world. We can be kind to those you are just like us, and those who couldn't be more different.
I've realized in my most important job as a parent, there is nothing I desire more than to help raise strong, kind adults.
Remember James Keller's words: "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle."
So friends, take your candles, and go light the world.