Life leaves scars

Sometimes the world is full of so much darkness that it's hard to find any light. The walls crush in on you and a feeling of helplessness carves itself into your bones. Everything is bleak and, worse than sad, you've become melancholy and numb to the world around you. What do we do in times like this?

Be the light. Be the lift of hope. Be the smile in a crowd. Fight against the indifference. Don't let fear win, let love.

Tell those that are important to you just how important they are. They may not be here tomorrow for you to let them know, so do so now before you miss your chance. Embarrassment has nothing on regret; one dissipates, the other only grows.

Be kind to every person you meet. Smile at strangers. There are shadows in all of us, and we should work on acknowledging them and scattering away the darkness. Small moments of decency can mean everything -- what is a single drop in your bucket could be the first rain a person parched for kindness has seen in years. It's never hard to be nice.

In a world where we are threatened to be hurt at every corner, it's easy to want to let yourself fade out. The news is full of stories about vitriol and violence, and we're getting used to it. We tune it out as white-noise. It's easier to not care at all than care too much, right? Shouldn't you prefer a gray world to one where the colors -- both beautiful and horrible -- are so vivid that it's nearly painful to look at?

Here's what I think: the world is supposed to leave its mark, even if it's a scar. If, at the end of our lives, our skin is smooth and unmarked, how can we speak about all we've survived?

Today's a dark day in the world, and my thoughts are with those in Belgium and Turkey (as well as with anyone in the world whose life has been shattered by violence). But the hate we see is outmatched by the love and compassion of the response. There are heroes in every one of us, little pieces of light in all of humanity. Don't let the darkness win. Don't let evil isolate. Reach out and do something, however small. The effect will be bigger than you expect. A ripple only widens.

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