The world right now feels like a mess, at least it does more so than usual. I’m not sure if it’s the constant flow of information but I feel like the world gets like this every couple of months and then we move on, and then it happens again, and then we move on again.
We never really spend time enough on the issue unless it directly affects us and our way of life. We hear about the plight in other countries, we hear about poverty, and war, disaster, strife, corruption and we make a few social media posts about it but then everyone moves on.
Easy to dismiss
It gets very easy for us to dismiss these problems for two reasons I think; the first being apathy and the second being hopelessness. Apathy is indifference to the problem, it’s a mentality that says:
We see so much tragedy and suffering on the news and online it makes things seem immediate and yet distant enough that with a flick of the switch we can turn it off; with this we learn not to care as much, to distance ourself from tragedy because there is just so much to feel.
This is dangerous, because the reality is, even if it doesn’t affect you, it affects someone else. Someone else’s life was impacted by it, someone else is hurting from the experience. Empathy is paramount in crisis and really in everyday life because our actions affect other people, and all actions have good and bad consequences.
Hope or Hopelessness
The other issue is hopelessness or even a deep cynicism that tells us there is nothing we can do or that there is too much hurt for us to handle. There doesn’t necessarily need to be overt positivity about everything that goes on, but we need hope. Without it how can we get by in the world so torn apart by its very inhabitants?
Something I’ve always remembered, even when I’ve become overwhelmed by everything the world has to offer, is that there is always something. Jesus was that something, he still is that something. We have to remember that even the small actions amount to change, just like a baby being born in manger amounted to saving all of humanity.
Master the little
When I was in year 9 I went to a leadership conference and the theme was . It was all about how within our own communities there are little things that we can do to help make a difference in the world. In that, hope does not have to be some grand act, loud and boisterous, it can be subtle and soft, that is the reason it comforts us. It inspires us to do and be better. That is the point of hope, it propels us into action for a better tomorrow and tells us there is still better to come.
Even if that action is small, I urge you to not sit passively in times of need and instead do something tangible. Volunteer, donate, research ways you can help people even if it feels like it won’t make a difference—I promise you it does to someone. It takes a small act of courage for you to change someone’s life, don’t let that go to waste.
Hope Pratt is an American Australian starting my first year at University. My family and I lived in Afghanistan for 6 years before moving to Australia. I am currently living in Sydney, which has been my longest home yet.