No one can deny that the world around us is going through very harsh and violent times. Every time I use social media or watch the news, I am bombarded with brutal images of slaughtered bodies, weeping mothers, starving children, lifeless faces. There is so much suffering that one doesn’t know who to grieve anymore, Syria? Palestine? Iraq? Nigeria? Humanity?
There is only so much misery and despair that one can handle seeing for so long, watching those images made me question the point of it all. How are we still living in such a cruel world without losing our minds from all the violence? I even started wondering how I, or anyone, could allow myself to be happy, when so many people were living under such atrocious conditions.
My wake-up call came through a dear friend with whom I had shared my thoughts, I was completely honest with her and I told her how all these events were making me feel so….down. I told her how I am trying to tune everything out, how I don’t think anyone (including myself) actually realizes the reality of what humanity has come to.
How could we watch a Palestinian mother scream with so much agony for her dead son, and then change the channel minutes later as if nothing had happened?
Because if we did understand the gravity of it, then why would we want to carry on dreaming…hoping…or even believing in life? And if we did realize it and it hasn’t driven us to madness yet, then that’s even more haunting.
I still remember her incredulous expression. “Of course we realize it,” she said. “But we have to move on; you can’t let it get to you, how do you think your family will feel if they see you depressed like this? You will make THEM suffer. This is life, it will always have suffering, the point is to try and do something about it, go out there and spread awareness, be informed, debate. Social media is the most powerful tool of our time, you CAN make a difference. Many people get so attached to this life, they think that this is it, but it’s not, we’re all going to die eventually, it will all end but while we’re here, our job is to spread positivity.”
Her answer was so simple, so obvious, I had known it all along, but I had lost track of it because I was only focusing on the negativity. How could I be so ungrateful to God, to the point of questioning my right to happiness? How could I, who had always had ambitions and dreams, just lose all motivation? No, I owed it to the Syrian and Palestinian children to be happy, I owed it to Iraqi women to go out there and do something with my life, to try and spread positivity and make even the smallest of differences.
My friend’s words echoed in my mind few days later when I stumbled on an interesting status on Facebook. The status described how Buddha was always seen smiling despite understanding how much suffering the world is going through. He was always smiling, because he was focusing on how to transform this suffering into positivity.
Transforming this suffering does not have to be through big actions, in fact another interesting quote says, “Some believe that it is only great power that can hold evil in check. But that is not what I have found. I have found that it is the small every-day deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.”
As Rachel Simon once described in her book “The Story of Beautiful Girl”, Life is like a painting, every color and detail is important to make the whole picture. This is how our Creator had designed it. There is a reason behind everything, be it good or bad. Wars, poverty and misery have always existed and will always exist. The point, as my friend had described, is for us to keep pushing back and not lose hope. The point is for us to face this suffering with kindness.
I just needed to be reminded of that.