Saturday 28 March 2015

For The Faith-Keepers and Truth-Seekers: Know The World is Good

When the world is falling apart, it's the most important time to stick together
Post-adventure blues can be unrelentingly brutal.

Especially when you've returned from one of the most incredible experiences of your life, back to a world seemingly falling apart with horror and tragedy. 

As I've written many times before, being riddled with empathy is a simultaneously beautiful and unforgiving phenomena, which renders one often wishing for plain ignorance instead. The absolute peak of this for me when was when flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine last summer, in which I wrote in detail about how it affected me here.

There's something about aviation disasters - perhaps the 'internationality' of it, it being the main way humans reach humans from other societies - that seems to slam the world into a tragic unison. It's not just about the nation where it occurs or the nationalities of those on board or involved, the whole world seems to feel the blow of the tragic loss of a plane.

This week, a dark cloud gathered around central Europe as the news broke of the sabotaged Germanwings flight. As before, the blow felt physical and raw in my soul, and flicking through the papers, all I seemed to see was death, destruction, pain and loss, like some great catalog of horror.

For someone who sings ceaselessly of unyielding positivity, there's nothing in the world more able to shatter me apart than darkness. 

But at the same time, through endless cycles of losing the fight against the bad, I've slowly but surely learnt how to combat it.

Last night at band house, I looked over at Greg and he was staring at something on his iPad, his eyes glistening. For one startled moment, I thought he might have been crying. 

"It's just... Perfect, isn't it?"

He said, turning his screen to me, and I saw what had made him so emotional.

And it made me realise; in the absence of light there is dark, but in that dark there are always people who make light again.

It doesn't matter if you are but a whisper of a melody in a raging storm, you must always keep singing. If not just to keep the music within yourself, do it for those who might just be able to hear you and join in.

So the evening after a terrible day at work having been inflicted with the weight of the world, on a last minute whim I decided to relinquish my woes with a foolproof fast food hit through the drive-through. (Clearly all about that glam blogger life.)

And waiting for the food I'd already prepared myself to instantly regret after finishing, with my window still open I heard the faint buzz of the person behind me order something which simply came to £1.98.

"Hi, thanks for waiting that'll be £3.95." Drawled the bored-looking cashier in a rehearsed tone, holding out the card-reader to me. My bleak mind suddenly sparked into life on impulse.

"I know this is weird, but... can I pay for the person's behind me too?" She looked entirely non-plussed as she combined the totals and processed my payment. But inside I felt a little giddy.

"Next window please," She gestured, "Have a nice evening."

As I proceeded, I angled my rear-view mirror with excitement as I watched the cashier explain to the unknown driver behind me that his meal was free. 

Then suddenly his car door swung open with force and a little bubble of fear rose in my chest. Oh god. Would they be mad that I'd done that? The driver strode purposefully up to my open window and before I could even say a word, reached his arms through and pulled me into a tight hug.

"Come 'ere you!" He said, voice muffled by my hair, and I laughed in utter bewilderment and joy. "Why did you do that?" The stranger pulled me to arms length, a broad smile across his gleaming face. 

"I... I don't really know..." I gushed with a smile, still a little in shock.

"Well... thank you." He said before nodding, squeezing my arm once more and returning to his vehicle, never to be seen ever again.

With my food in hand I raced home absolutely buzzing with happiness, amazed at how just one pretty tiny and irrelevant gesture had completely transformed my day, and hopefully his too. I even saw the bored-looking cashier flash me a small grin as I departed.

From that brief exchange with a stranger, I learnt something important that evening.

It doesn't matter how small, how irrelevant or seemingly pointless one little positive action may be, you have no idea the effect that can have on someone's, anyone's or even your own darkness.

The futility of our own singular actions against such grand-scale universal horror may be painfully obvious, but the only moment the hope is truly lost, is when that makes us give up trying.

We can't let the worlds darkness swallow our own little beacons, because together, those little beacons make light.