Terror in Tunisia. In South Carolina, carnage. Isis' influence all around us, the threat level as high as it has ever been. Life on Earth isn't always a picnic. For all the pleasure, there is also pain.
Hatred. Intolerance. Disaffection. Spite. The easiest thing, perhaps, would be to give up on people, to lose heart and abandon faith. That, in the main, we're stronger than that is the the thing that gives us the most hope. Resilience. Determination. Belief. Trust. These are the qualities that come to the fore at times such as these. Kindness and love abound. For all our divisions, we remain connected.
Grace is something that has been discussed a lot in recent days. President Obama even sang about it at Clementa Pinckney's funeral service in Charleston, his heart-rending speech one that struck quite a chord here at OM®.
'[Reverend Pinckney] conducted himself quietly, kindly, diligently,' the president said. 'He encouraged progress not by pushing his ideas alone, but by seeking out your ideas, partnering with you to make things happen. He was full of empathy and fellow feeling, able to walk in somebody else's shoes and see through their eyes.'
Empathy. Partnership. Kindness. These are the things that inspire our quest. The things that speak to us. The things that make us, hard thought it is sometimes, believe.
That these are concepts foreign to Seifeddine Rezgui, Dylann Roof and all the others who perpetrate such dreadful deeds is quite clear. That we must not allow that to derail us in our journeys is a fact beyond all question.
'There is no short cut,' President Obama said. There have been bumps in the road - and there are sure to be more - but we mustn't turn back or deviate from our chosen course. It is the correct course, the right path and the progress that the president spoke about continues to be made, a little at a time, perhaps, but progress nevertheless.
It is a progress that, for all their hatred, all their intolerance and all their spite, Dylann Roof, Seifeddine Rezgui and their like can never hope to halt. For kindness is a powerful force and love conquers all.
In recent days, Reverend Keith Hunter, a pastor in South Carolina, has spoken about this being a 'wake-up call', the tragic events in Charleston 'beginning a process of transformation'. For that transformation to proceed, we must not give up on people, lose heart or abandon faith. Empathy. Partnership. Kindness. These are the things that matter. Despite our differences. Despite the divisions. Despite all that has gone before.
Take a look at the rainbow flags that are all over Facebook and think about tolerance. Listen to Donald Trump and think about division. Here is a presidential candidate who is talking about building walls . . .
For real progress to be made, for our journeys to continue, for love to conquer, we all need to start knocking them down.
No more terror? No more carnage? No more pain? It might seem like too much to hope for just now, but here at OM® our faith remains intact and our determination strong.
Here's to transformation. Here's to progress. Here's to kindness. Here's to love. Here's to knocking down walls . . .