Sunday’s Wisdom #16: What Keeps the Darkness at Bay

“Why the halfling?”

“I do not know. Saruman believes that is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I’ve found. I’ve found it is the small things, the everyday deeds of ordinary folk, that keeps the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps it is because I am afraid, and he gives me courage.”

-Galadriel and Gandalf
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Some may call me an optimist. A hopelessly hopeful idiot. But not only do I like to believe that people are basically good, but I see it with my own eyes every day. I see the hope this world has. I don’t find it by looking up, at the people who make speeches, command armies, and judge which laws should be enforced. Neither is it found by looking far away, to nations and places I have never been to. It’s certainly not found by looking in my wallet, throwing money at a problem and calling it good.

I find hope looking around me, at my friends and family, at my community, and at all of us who are just trying to get by. I see us, so humble, so small, and I see small, random acts of kindness. I know firsthand how much those can mean to someone who’s been having a lousy day. A kind word, an unselfish deed, just a little love and support, any time, can save a life. Just that little bit of light, shining in the darkness around us, can give us just a little bit of strength we need. Sometimes it’s only enough to keep us going one more day. But that’s all we need. One more day. If we can just keep going “one more day,” then we can make it through an entire lifetime, and we’ll find that we did not do this alone.

It is the little things that make for a family that is either happy or hollow. It’s the small, selfless things that turn rambunctious children into respectable adults, that creates generation after generation of loving, happy families, and forges men and women who are selfless enough to defend others even at great risk to their own lives.

The strength of a nation is the strength of its people, and the strength of the people is each person’s choice to be kind.

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