What can we do when it feels there is nothing we can do to help?


Our hearts go out to those in Brussels.

It seems far too often now we wake up or go to bed to news reports of terror and heartbreak in Paris, Nigeria, San Bernardino, Ankara. The list of cities and countries rocked by violence stretches on and can make the situation feel hopeless.

When the Paris attacks happened, we said that our thoughts were with the people of France and we got some pushback for that. Some people said that sending love or good wishes did no more than sending prayers. Unfortunately, after an attack like Paris or Brussels, there isn’t much any of us can do except let the people suffering know that we are united behind them and that we are thinking of them.

Today we can send out thoughts and our love, but we can also continue the work of making this world a better place. We can do more than bemoan a world that is increasingly becoming a darker, more angry place.

There is that famous and oft quoted line by Fred Rogers, who many of us grew up with on PBS, "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world."

What can we do to make a difference?  We can be the helpers. Together we can work hard for the things that matter: improve basic human rights, help protect and fix the environment, make sure a quality education is available to everyone, work to lift others out of poverty and to improve access to quality healthcare, and work together with people of other faiths toward common goals. Step up in times of crisis, gather what you can to help, go where you are needed. Join a local volunteer group to help those in your area affected by violence or homelessness, help pick up trash, or just strengthen community ties.These are the core values of Foundation Beyond Belief and maybe they are yours as well. If that’s the case, we’d love to work with you.

What else can you do? Vote. Be involved. If you live in a country where you are able to have a voice in deciding the future of your country, use it.

So send your love, your thoughts, and even your prayers (if you pray), but then be a helper. Do the hard work that needs to be done to make the world a better one where we all feel more connected. It won’t solve all the world’s problems, sure, but it is a step in the right direction. And it takes many small steps together to run a marathon.