Hope in the Face of Tragedy

We’re living in a time when it might be easy to lose faith in your fellow man. For centuries, the fearmongers have crowed about the latest wars and conquests and savagery on a global scale, but it’s only been in the last few decades that a plague of individuals committing mass murder has become so prevalent. The correlation between this behavior and the mass prescription drugging of our population is the subject of other posts (and well worth diving into).

Hands praying

But when I came across a recent article about the tragic shooting in El Paso, I was struck by something that I see again and again when people are faced with situations that, on their surface, couldn’t possibly have a silver lining: hope.

Man is, at his most basic level, fundamentally good. And it’s that goodness that always surfaces in the face of tragedy.

This man suffered an unspeakable loss (his wife, life partner and best friend) and rather than being bitter or bent on revenge, he simply asked that the world join him in honoring her and the life she led, to celebrate all that was best and brightest about her. And people from around the country, and I’m sure around the world, responded in the way good people always do—with kindness and love and empathy and compassion.

What the desperate few who have sunk so low that they only see their criminal reflection in the faces of others don’t realize is that the human spirit can never be destroyed or erased. The desire to reach out with an open, helping hand will always, always be stronger and more prevalent than the desire to strike with a fist. Man is, at his most basic level, fundamentally good. And it’s that goodness that always surfaces in the face of tragedy, manmade or otherwise.

Our society faces real problems that demand real solutions. But if I’ve learned anything, it’s that we get what we put our attention on, individually and as a culture. This man who has lost so much chose, in the face of that loss, to focus on celebrating a life well-lived. That, and the loving response he received, speak to the hope that should always drive us forward to do and be better for ourselves and one other. 

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