It has been a rough few weeks. Every time I turn on the TV or scroll through social media feeds, tragedy, heartache, death, illness, and disaster greet me. Hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, mudslides, and wildfires are ravaging communities and obliterating everything in their paths. Senseless acts of violence are taking innocent lives and leaving loved ones to pick up the pieces. Political unrest lurks in the shadows like an arrogant thief, threatening to steal what little peace is left and replace it with fear.
The whole world is in commotion, and my heart cries out, “When will the madness end? Is there no rest for the weary in these troubled times?”
I am reminded of a story that is a staple in my home, The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien. If you are unfamiliar with the trilogy, it is the thrilling account of a battle between good and evil. It falls on Frodo, a humble and unassuming hobbit, to carry the ring of power (the root of all evil) across the lands of Middle Earth and destroy it in the fires of Mount Doom. By doing so, he will rid the world of corruption and darkness, thus preparing it for the return of the rightful king.
It is a quest like no other, fraught with perils and pitfalls that Frodo could have scarcely imagined when he left his home in the peaceful Shire. At one point, he expressed to his wizard friend, Gandolf, how he wished this difficult task had not fallen on his shoulders.
“So do I,” Gandalf replied, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”¹
These days, I feel a bit like Frodo. I long to see an end to suffering, destruction, and conflict. I yearn for a world where peace reigns rather than confusion, but that will likely never be mine to enjoy during my earthly sojourn.
I may not be able to single-handedly hold back the rising tide of suffering in the world, but, as Gandolf so wisely told Frodo in Tolkien’s classic fantasy adventure, I can decide what to do with the time that is given me.
To combat the growing forces of evil, uncertainty, and fear that will likely get worse before they get better, I am going to look for, embrace, and share the light.
I read something on Instagram the other day that has not left my mind since. Al Fox Carraway, a well-known speaker, author, and influencer amongst those who share my faith, was lamenting about how she has wanted to quit social media for a long time. (It’s like she read my mind…) Only one thing keeps her going:
If we don’t share light, who will?
Yes, my friends. Who will?
There are enough bitterness and despair in the world at this very moment to last any one of us a lifetime. There are enough cynicism, negativity, and unkindness to silence joy forever. If there was ever a need for more light and hope, it is now. The world is begging for such goodness, and you and I can answer that call.
Light lives within each of us, and it is time to stand and let it shine like a brilliant beacon in the midst of a raging storm.
For me, that looks like a blog where I try to write words that inspire and bring a measure of amusement. You might choose to fill your social media feed with things that bring you peace and hope instead of jumping on the bandwagon of criticism and animosity.
Perhaps, all of us can look around our neighborhoods and communities and fill the needs, spoken and unspoken, of those closest to us. I love this quote from Bonnie L. Oscarson:
What good does it do to save the world if we neglect the needs of those closest to us and those whom we love the most? How much value is there in fixing the world if the people around us are falling apart and we don’t notice? Heavenly Father may have placed those who need us closest to us, knowing that we are best suited to meet their needs.
There is no doubt that we live in perilous times, but all is not lost. Light remains abundant in the hearts and lives of those who seek it. We may not be able to change the disasters and evil influences that seem to be growing in number and intensity. But we can stand firm and resolute, refusing to allow darkness to dim the light within. We can share our light with the world.
Will you join me?
1. J. R. R. Tolkien, “The Shadow of the Past,” book 1, The Fellowship of the Ring (1954).