You’d be forgiven for thinking that all is wrong with world after events of the last week or so. The horrendous murder (although I’m not sure that word really does it justice) of Lee Rigby and the conviction of paedaphile Mark Bridger are just two in a long list of shocking recent events which, if we are not careful, could completely undermine our faith in human nature and the world we live in. But I am choosing to see my glass half full. I am choosing to look beyond the grotesqueness of these events. How?
These events and others besides have brought out the very best in human nature. They have shown that there is such thing as society; that communities do exist and in many ways are as strong as ever. They showed us the kindness of strangers. The power of courage and integrity.
The very public and heartfelt reaction to Woolwich has been incredible, moving and inspiring. Complete strangers coming together in Woolwich; leaving flowers, paying their respects, writing in books of condolence, posting messages of support for his family and friends online, openly showing their emotions; sometimes anger, sometimes grief. As the unspeakable events unfolded passers-by- complete strangers to the victim and the aggressors- showed amazing courage in the face of the evil that confronted them. They stood up and were counted- seeking to protect Lee Rigby’s body, haranguing the perpetrators and saying with one voice, we will not be terrorised. Extraordinary. These and other shows of support and courage- often given to complete strangers- is the best that human nature has to offer. A sense of solidarity. A sense of common purpose.
There have of course been some groups- we all know who I mean- that have sought to exploit Drummer Rigby’s murder. Again, the reaction to this has been incredible. More strength under fire; more determination to hold true to our values; more unity than division. Like many people I know, I could not contain my emotions when watching Lee Rigby’s family speak about him. Heartbreaking doesn’t get near it. Yet there was something incredibly uplifting about their reaction. Proud. Passionate. Loving. I choose to be inspired by them.
In the case of April Jones, the people of Machynlleth showed the same extraordinary courage and support- this time to April’s family. They came out in their numbers to lead one of the most amazing community movements of modern times to search for her when she was missing. After the awful reality of her death was realised, they turned their attention to comforting her grieving family and their community. And in the aftermath of last weeks verdict I sensed again that heartfelt sense of togetherness that said we will not let our way of life be destroyed by one evil man.
So here’s the thing; this is still the greatest country in the world regardless of the awful things that people sometimes do within it. Yes we have bad things happen here but we also have complete strangers giving up their time and putting themselves in danger to help others, seeking nothing in return. We have complete strangers paying their heartfelt respects to the neighbours they may never have met. We have complete strangers saying you are my brother and sister and I stand with you. Complete strangers caring, loving, crying, grieving for one and other.
Even during the darkest day the sunrise is only just around the corner. After the last few darks days, I am choosing to be positive. I am choosing to be inspired. I am choosing to keep my glass half full.