It seems like every time we read or watch the news, another devastating tragedy has occurred that only further demonstrates man's depravity. Wars, crimes, oppressive governments, shootings, and racism, among numerous other things, ravage the world and prove that we humans are indeed flawed.
It can be easy to despair, for it appears that so many people are simply out to get one another and have no regard for the value of their fellow man. With so much evil in the world, how can any good come of it? Are we forever doomed to wallow in our depravity and vice, or is there still hope for humanity?
Surely, our prospects seem dim and things often seem to only be getting worse; nevertheless, we can still see glimpses of goodness and light in the acts of ordinary people on an everyday basis. Such displays of kindness and love reveal that even though we are flawed, we are not completely lost. In the words of Sam Gamgee, "There's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo - and it's worth fighting for." Indeed, in the midst of so much hate and violence, there really is still some good in this world and in the hearts of humanity.
One example of this goodness is in the remarkable way that people often pull together in the midst of pain, fear, or tragedy. For instance, a couple of years ago in Panama City Beach, Florida, numerous beachgoers formed a "human chain" to rescue nine swimmers who were struggling to stay afloat about 70 yards from the shoreline. This reaction to the swimmers' plight was completely spontaneous. In a matter of minutes, about 40 people (of all ages and races) had formed a chain by linking arms with one another until they were far enough out to save the swimmers in distress.
Remarkably, those who helped the swimmers immediately dropped everything else to band together and rescue people who were complete strangers. They were not so wrapped up in themselves that they disregarded the plight of those around them; neither did they act out of a desire to be noticed and applauded for what they did. Rather, they simply saw that someone else needed help, and they helped them. So simple, yet so powerful.
I love seeing simple acts of kindness like this that reveal people coming together and treating one another with care and love. This is what truly brings us together – everyday acts of goodness, which are done because we are willing to put aside thoughts of ourselves and focus on other people. Deep down, we know how we ought to treat our fellow man - and when we let that knowledge flood into our actions, we create something beautiful. And it is behavior such as this that gives me hope for the world, even when almost everything seems to be going wrong.
So yes, we do live in a tragic, cruel world that is full of people who constantly hurt each other. Yet even as we continue to live in this fallen world (where no human can make everything completely right), we can still recognize and appreciate these glimpses of goodness in humanity - and more than that, we can be those glimpses of light. We can be the change for which we so desperately yearn. We can make the conscious choice every day to go outside ourselves and turn our attention towards helping others. And above all, we can inspire hope in the hearts of others by showing, through our own words and actions, that there is still some good in humanity - and in the world.