There Is Light…

Earlier in May of this year, I mentioned that we have responsibilities: responsibilities as college students, citizens of the United States, and citizens of the world. I would like to add one more responsibility to the list.

Be grateful. For everything you have and everyone you know.

I know what you all are saying to yourselves: Duh! It’s Thanksgiving! That’s the whole point!

You’re right. But, here in 2015, there is a lot more to it.

If you turn on your TV, scroll on your phone, open your laptop, or eavesdrop on a conversation, you are going to find a mass of national and global negativity. You are going to find it in all meanings of the word.

I, originally, had the intention of listing multiple negative happenings in this post. I chose not to. Because there is too many. Because along with the multiple, national and global happenings (some known, some unknown) that are inescapable through the media and everyday conversation, there are personal happenings in each of our lives that contribute to the mass of negativity.

It seems that darkness has begun to engulf all of the light in our world. But as I have said to myself and others throughout this fall semester: there is light in every situation, you just have to find it.

Here is what I mean.

If you look closely, you are going to find that in the midst of this negativity, people, all over the world, are resilient. You are going to find that these resilient people have opened their doors and their hearts to those who are suffering. You are going to find that these resilient people have looked bigotry, hatred, violence and personal suffering in the face and said “enough.”

More simply, if you apply the phrase to everyday life, you are going to find that you are surrounded by people who want to see you at your best but accept you at your worst. You are going to find times to burst into laughter and tears of joy from being around those people. From doing the things you love the most. You are going to find light and love. You are going to find that through despair, there is hope.

My point is this: this Thanksgiving, it is imperative that we find the light and the love of our situations and be grateful that we still can in times that are this dark and hateful. It is our responsibility to, again, listen to Interim President Chandler in his message and “relax, reflect and re-charge” while we “also uncover the ways in which each of us can play a part in promoting acceptance, empathy, and understanding both in our immediate community and the world.”

To quote a great teacher of mine, “It’s not about what happens to you. It’s about how you react to what happens to you.”

As you take care of yourself and give thanks this break, please think to yourselves: what will your reaction be?

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

-Jared Swain

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