Recent weeks have oddly taught me more about the good in humanity than my previous thirty plus years on the planet.
It's not that I didn't believe human kind to be more good than evil before, but I've never truly witnessed this in action until these last tumultuous three weeks ripped the rug out from under my cosy life. Factor in a hitherto pretty normal existence with a career, loving family and two young children and you'll understand why a sequence of intense, spasmodic abdominal pain, emergency surgery for a bowel obstruction, installation of a (hopefully reversible) stoma and diagnosis with C2 / Stage 3 bowel cancer has been received like a seismic shock to my foundations.
That said, the unbelievable surge of love and support that has risen up like a tidal swell from both friend and foe, close confidantes and strangers alike is something I could never have envisaged in my wildest dreams. Everything from kind words, flowers, books, cakes, casseroles and hugs has come my way. I could not feel more loved, supported and blessed in spite of everything.
This crisis has reconnected me to people I thought I had lost from my life. Common sadness, shock and commiseration has combined to sow seeds of solidarity on land that would once have been considered fallow or even barren.
This is human kind at its best.
From the people I met on my little ward of eight beds, all similarly suffering post-surgery, all with their own crosses to bear, the community of support and consolation was palpable. We shared our tears, we heard each other's pain (for meagre curtains do little to block out the animalistic yowls of misery) and we supported each other as best we could: a pat on the shoulder, a kind greeting, a simple smile at the right time. Small gestures helped us to survive and thrive together.
And so it must be with Trump. The latest global catastrophe to rock our world. Bigger potentially than Brexit and similarly unexpected.
My best hope for the world is that humanity will rise up in solidarity to overpower adversity and to swamp his divisive rhetoric with positivity, love and the potential to build a better and more inclusive future for everyone.
My own personal experience, which rather pales into insignificance in the face of global politics, has shown me that regardless of race, gender, faith or familiarity good people stand up when it really matters.
The human race is more innately good than inherently bad. Of course there are bad people, people that seek to breed fear, intolerance, pessimism, anger, injustice. There are extremists, criminals, rapists, paedophiles, haters...but fortunately they are still a minority.
I would like to believe that there are enough people in the world with the right moral compass to mean that whilst we may have to endure four years of Trump as US President, that needn't mean that his poisonous beliefs should spread like a canker across the globe. The US presidency may grant him a platform and indeed power for a time, but there is only one of him and a global population of billions.
So in the days, weeks and months that follow, as the dust settles and shock turns to acceptance, please remember to Trump war with peace, Trump misery with joy and #Trumphatewithlove (as some folk have been putting out there on Twitter).
The media have a permanent and depressing tendency towards catastrophe, disaster, war and pain. Yet it does little to show the good and sometimes heroic things that people are doing to alleviate human suffering. Take the small army of medics who left the safety of their own civilised homes to join the fight against ebola in Africa, or the good Samaritans who were so touched by the plight of migrants that they travelled to the Greek islands this summer to help pull desperate families from sinking vessels day after day: these, to me, are selfless and courageous acts indeed. The best in humanity taken to its extreme.
We are not all capable of such huge acts. Whether through lack of inclination, ignorance or indolence, life often conspires to make such sacrifices impractical and challenging. But consider this. You are not incapable of small acts of kindness and humanity, and every small act that you can personally commit to on a daily basis to fly in the face of Trump's bleak outlook is a good step in the right direction.
Hold the café door for the lady struggling with the buggy and a baby, stop and offer directions to the tourists who are clearly lost, allow someone to go ahead of you in the shopping queue, go out of your way to help someone in need. It will make you feel better about yourself and better about life.*
If we all do something, anything, each and every day to show that hatred and division will never rule in our own lives, this mountain of small and arguably prosaic acts of humanity, cannot but inspire others to follow suit...and then, maybe then, Trump will be rendered impotent and will get back in his box.
*If you want to watch something inspiring seek out #Hugsnotwalls video. Evidence of the power of healing and reconciliation. The moving and poignant antithesis of Trump's dastardly plans.
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