Good grief. This has been a terrible month. I am not even going to mention all of the tragic world events, because all of us have been brooding about them, losing sleep over them, and trying to understand what has become of us.
But I am here to console us in an odd way. We have been horrible since time began. Humans have been removing one another’s heads for centuries. Burning each other on stakes, and my God, did you watch Braveheart? Here is the subtle difference: back in the day, when a witch was burned at the stake in New England, people in Australia had no idea it happened. So they could just worry about their own problems, and assume that the only horrible people in the world were their own neighbors and persecutors.
Lots of my social media acquaintances have decided that they want to go back to that time when nobody knew every single little fact about every person on earth via Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit. So they are going “off” social media. They are going to protect themselves by holing up at home, eliminating social media at all costs, cancelling their newspaper subscriptions (there are still newspapers?), and staying safe and secure by bingewatching Breaking Bad and Dexter, because fictional horribleness is entertaining.
Around here, we are more realistic. We like to see all the ice bucket challenges—they bolster our faith in humanity, plus we get to see just what celebrity backyards look like. And funny pet videos go a long way to cheer us up. Just this morning I saw a cockatiel dishing out dog biscuits to a Labrador.
Hiding your head in a hole doesn’t really help. There is so much out there that is still good, productive, and uplifting. We just have to pick and choose what we “like” on Facebook. I am doing that. I have unfollowed the gloomy people. And when I get discouraged about the world, I think about Maya Angelou, Mother Teresa, Jonas Salk, James Baldwin, Temple Grandin, Martin Luther King, and Bob Hope. I am starting a list of people who cast a light into the world. Then when things get oppressive, I add another name to the list.
Today, it was this one: taken from http://www.manythings.org/voa/people/Medical_Researchers.html
Matthew Lukwiya was the medical administrator of Saint Mary’s Hospital in the Gulu District of northern Uganda. In 2000, the hospital was the center of treatment for an outbreak of Ebola. The virus causes severe bleeding. No cure is known. Doctors can only hope that victims are strong enough to survive.
Dr. Lukwiya acted quickly to control the spread of infection. He kept the people with Ebola separate from the other patients. He ordered hospital workers to wear protective clothing and follow other safety measures.
One day he had to deal with a patient who was dying of Ebola. The man had been acting out of control. The doctor knew him well. The patient was a nurse who worked at the hospital. The man was coughing and bleeding. Dr. Lukwiya violated one of his own rules. He wore no protection over his eyes.
Matthew Lukwiya died from the virus in December of 2000. He was 42 years old. Ugandans mourned his death. He was an important influence in the community. Experts say his work during the outbreak helped stop the Ebola virus from spreading out of control.
See? It is inspiring, isn’t it? Go ahead. Start your own list.