I've been pondering this post in my head for the last couple of days. The shock and horror of the attacks in Paris on Friday night are still reverberating around us, and it's a lot to take in. Listening to, reading or watching the news can be overwhelming -- the horror of the acts, the loss and fear experienced by those involved, the disbelief of how people could hurt others in such ways, and what this means for the world going forward -- can feel like too much to cope with.
There are terrible things happening every day in our own cities and across the world. However, these terrible things, awful as they are, are committed by a tiny proportion of the world's population. There are more than seven billion people on Earth, the population of Britain makes up less than 1 percent of that figure. The overwhelming majority, by a very long way, of people on our planet are good. They are kind, decent, generous, warm, loving humans. When inexplicable tragedy takes place, these are the people you can focus your energy on.
A favorite quote that I come back to every time the news reports a new tragedy, whether it's manmade or a natural disaster, is this:
That's what I do. I look for the helpers. And at the weekend, in Paris, it wasn't hard to find them. Stories poured out of people sheltering strangers in their homes, of taxi drivers switching off their meters and spending hours driving people home, of queues at hospitals as volunteers waited to donate blood.
When tragedy strikes, look for the good in people and you'll find it.
We can't always stop bad things happening but that doesn't mean we're powerless and the world is going to rot around us. There are things we can do, that make a difference. Allowing the news to overwhelm you and make you feel helpless and afraid does no one, including you, any good. Focus on what you can do. You can make the world a better place through your own actions. Be generous with your time, your attention, your patience, your kindness. Make a conscious effort to spread joy in your corner of the world, further afield and to feel it in your own life.
You and I can be those helping.