In these days having a working heart is a hazardous proposition.
Looking around and seeing how calloused the world has become, how much bitterness has seeped into the bloodstream, how little people seem to care very deeply about much of anything or anyone—you can come to the conclusion that you should just do the same; that you may as well give company to their misery.
Because frankly, the alternative is exhausting.
It is a decidedly uphill battle right now to hold onto to compassion when all the momentum seems to be pushing against it, when the voices from within and without are saying, “To Hell with it all.” It would be much easier to surrender to the crushing gravity of hatred and be overcome by it.
Yes, right now you can very easily join the growing ranks of those whose empathy is quickly drying-up—or you can choose to give a damn.
I’m asking you to give a damn.
I’m asking you to not let the kindness in you go extinct, not to let the overwhelming heaviness right now have its way in your heart. I’m asking you to find the smallest kernel of hope and to strain to keep it close.
I know how broken these days have made you feel.
I know how very not-right it all appears.
I know how upside-down the world seems.
I know you think you’re losing your mind.
I know the grief of losing what you so hoped for, and the terror of seeing your greatest fears realized.
I know the pressure in the center of your chest and the tumult in the pit of your stomach.
I know that you are feeling like you’re close to falling apart and maybe you already have.
But I know something else about you: I know what a warrior you are.
I know that there is a hidden reservoir of goodness in you that is not yet fully emptied; that the very fact you are so wounded right now is the reason you can still fight—you still care enough to bleed and that makes you dangerous.
Yes, these days are terrible but they are not fully terrible.
Look around again, and this time try not to see the callousness and the bitterness. Scan the smoldering landscape to find the quieter places of defiant beauty. Look beneath the bombast of all that vitriol and discord and see those who like you, are limping and bleeding and may be falling apart, but who are doing the second by second work of resisting the momentum of hatred—those who still give a damn.
And as you look around and see like-hearted warriors, find a reason to keep fighting yourself. There are always reasons.
There are people you love, dreams you still nurture, there is music and color and nature, and a billion silent miracles breaking out within your very body right now. There are songs you have yet to sing, sunrises that are coming, and there are plot twists that you will write for the story that no one else can write. There are people half a world away whose lives will feel the ripples of the beautiful noise you will make right where you stand, if you would only make it.
Yes, right now there seems to be a whole lot of people who just don’t care and maybe that’s true.
But not you.
You have not yet given up and become them, so don’t.
Give a damn.