Monday, January 11, 2016

How to Have Hope During Tragedy

Volunteers help unload truck after flooding.

I've been thinking about this for a few months now, since it seems that everywhere we look tragedy is striking some part of the world. I don't know why it has to happen, perhaps because balance in all things is Nature's way of managing this world, but when tragedy hits, it's hard to make sense of it all. It's even harder when the tragedy happens at the hands of other humans. Humans just like us, that live and breathe and are born from the womb of their mother, and brought to this life. For whatever reason, they hurt others and forever take away the stability of feeling safe. 

Often it is hard to get our bearings, or feel like life is still good when things like this happen. When people bomb or shoot up major cities, when dangerous people hurt others, it scares us. When hate begets hate begets hate, it's hard to feel like the world is a good place to be. 

Fret not, my friends. There is still hope. A dark room is lit up by a crack of light from under a door. 

So, where is the sliver of light to light up the world during tragedy? 

Look for the helpers. 

They are there. The man that lets another man borrow his cellphone so he can continue trying to call home and report that he's alive after the tragedy. The people that show up to help clean up in the aftermath. The people that hand out supplies, give first aid, give rides, water bottles, hugs. The helpers are there. It is easier to spot the bad things, because they are bad, our minds are not trained to be ok with those things, but, please don't stop looking for the helpers. 

They are there, dirty, and tired, helping alongside the victims. They are harder to spot because they are right in the middle of it. Please look for them, they are there. Because good and bad both exist in this world, in the midst of tragedy, we will also have the good people, the helpers. 

Remember that not all the world has gone bad. There are still people who do wonderful things for others. This thought gives me comfort. One way to feel this hope for yourself is to focus on it. 

Look for the helpers, and perhaps, become a helper yourself. 

There are always opportunities to help out in your own areas, even if it's not a time of tragedy. One of the best ways to see the good in the world, and pull yourself out of a funk is to serve others. 

If you're not sure where to look, try these sites:
Volunteer Match
United Way

Some local opportunities as well:
The Road Home
Utah Commission on Volunteers

Other ideas include:
+ Call local homeless shelters to find out what help they need
+ Hospitals or senior care centers might need visitors to long term patients
+ Rehab facilities might have need for volunteers to socialize with and entertain their patients. (Rehab is very hard for the patients and this can drastically improve their mood which helps their staying power in the programs.)
+ You can host a charity drive:
   - coats and blankets for homeless people
   - food donations
   - help collect home goods for immigrating families or people who have lost everything
+ During the holidays there are programs like Sub For Santa, Toys for Tots, and other things to help out those who are destitute. 
+ You can even just do something nice for your neighbors. Shovel their sidewalk, or water their lawn while they're on vacation. Something as simple as baking them cookies and delivering them can work wonders for your mood and can give you a restored faith in people. (If you're doing this, then others must be too, right?)

And if you're still not convinced that being one of the helpers can help you keep hope in hard times, remember this quote that I have hanging in my bathroom: 

"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." 
- Aesop

+++ How do you keep hope during tragedy? What volunteer opportunities do you know about? Where do you find opportunities to volunteer? Share any links below that will help others find opportunities, too!

Join the conversation!

  1. This is so great. I love the idea of becoming a helper, and looking for helpers too. In my twins' club, we're making care packages for the Ronald McDonald House. I also raise money for the TTTS Foundation and March of Dimes every year.

    1. That is wonderful! I'm sure that helps out those organizations very much.

  2. I always look for the helpers. I love that. We try to volunteer as much as we can

    1. That is great! Volunteers are always needed everywhere. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. It is wonderful when people come out to help. I am thankful for those that have helped me in times of need.

    1. I have had a lot of help in the past few years and I'm so grateful that people were so willing to do so. It really makes a difference in my life. Thanks for reading.

  4. I don't always have money to give. Time and service I can always find.

    1. It's so true. When money is tight, we can give of ourselves. Some of my favorite gifts I've been given, are a neighbor sending me a text on Mother's Day right after my mom died. It was such a sweet gesture, and made me feel very loved.

  5. Oh. My Word. This is so helpful, practical and heartwarming. I love it. Be a helper you gently encourage. It is fantastic. Thank you for writing on this topic. I think we are going to see a lot more of needing to be helpers in the future. Thank you for laying the ground work!

    1. Thank you for reading, Heather! I think you're right. As our population expands, and resources start to become limited, helping people is the only way I think we'll all make it.

  6. This is so wonderful to remember. Often it helps to just jump in and help others!

    1. My mom used to tell me that when I was feeling depressed, the best pick me up, was to serve someone else. She was so right. It really does help.

  7. This is such an inspirational post. I love it! My husband and I try to help others whenever and wherever we can. I love that Aesop quote. :)

    1. You are one of the good ones then! :) Thanks for stopping by. That Aesop quote is my favorite.


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