I greet you somberly on the morning after a terrible tragedy that, in combination with recent natural disasters and artificial discord, has left many people reeling, overwhelmed, and lost. Nothing can remove the hurt that many feel, and confusion will be the theme of many lives for days to come. I do not say that to depress, but to affirm that it is okay if you’re feeling low, sad, angry, depressed, or even grateful that you are not currently suffering in the ways that so many others are. All of those thoughts and feelings are normal human responses to grief and pain.
Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, however you are hurting, know that you prayed for, cared for, and loved. Know that there is still, always, hope.
I recognize how hard that can be to believe. I have been lost in despair and suffering. I have wilted under the fiery heart of those who would oppress and harm me. Those who did. I have considered tomorrow with the abject fear of someone who feels that they barely survived today.
What I want you to know is you can do this. There is always hope.
Hope is, after love, the single greatest currency humanity could ever possess. With it, we can stand defiant in the face of enormous loss and fear. Without it, the loss and fear consume us. But what I want to tell you, what you NEED to know, is that there is always hope.
No one can take it from you, though they will try. Often the loudest voices are those that seek to deprive you of even the basest hopes, reminding you of what you have lost and how difficult it will be to reclaim that which you have held dear.
Do not listen.
They may say that things are too far gone. That too much damage has been done. They may try to convince you that your hurt will never heal.
Do not listen.
Hope remains so long as you believe in your heart and the heart of those around you. Hope remains so long as, acting out of love and common decency, you give of yourself to aid others. If you are one of those most directly hit by any of these crises, know that you are not alone. You do not face this alone, though it may at times feel as though the walls of your world have caved in: pressing you from every side.
In the face of darkness screaming your name, do not listen.
You can and will rebuild. You can and will overcome. You do not have to do it alone. You will not have to do it alone.
The hearts and minds of millions are with you. Their prayers, support, and hands reach out to you. We will get through this together.
There is always hope.
A final thought to the writers out there, like me: Use your words, now more than ever. Language is the most powerful force ever devised. It exceeds the might of weapons and storms. It stands unrivaled as the shaping force of history.
It is history.
As a writer, you bend that power to your whim. Do not for an instant wave away such strength as meaningless in a time such as this. It is more meaningful than ever. When the world darkens and we as the combined peoples of this Earth grieve, writers must be there to offer hope. To remind us that every night has an end. That every darkness will be broken by light. That we can and will overcome.
Writers, let’s do that together.