This we can all agree on – the world seems to be in a real mess these days.
Wherever we turn there seems to be intractable problems, people doing incredibly dumb and harmful things (to themselves and to others), and most concerning, individuals and so-called leaders moving from a healthy skepticism to a destructive cynicism, in decision-making. This is not good. But it's not the end of the world either.
All is not completely as it seems in the world, and here is what I know: rainbows only follow storms. It’s a scientific fact, that you cannot have a rainbow without a storm first.
Even our problems and challenges can be a source of inspiration and hope (in and for our world).
Almost no one wakes up in the morning and says 'I want to create a cancer foundation.' When I say no one, I of course mean the overwhelming majority of people. People who create cancer foundations are people touched or somehow impacted by cancer. They had cancer, a child or spouse or someone they loved had cancer. Or worse, someone near and dear lost their life to cancer. But this loss, this pain, is often not the end to the story, but the beginning of a new one. Rainbows after storms.
Michael Milken has done incredible, even highly commendable things to advance cancer research, but Milken didn’t just wake up one morning and decide to become a multi-million dollar champion of cancer research. Michael Milken himself got prostate cancer, and everything changed in his life soon thereafter. More so, cancer research had just found an incredibly talented, gifted, wealthy and powerful champion. A reason for real hope.
Or take Candy Lightner, whose life changed on May 3rd, 1980. On this day Candy Lightner’s 13-year old daughter was struck and killed by a drunk driver in a California suburb, and everything instantly changed in Lightner’s life. Her daughter was everything to her and now she was gone. Enraged by the entire process around her daughter’s death at the hand of serial drunk driver, Lightner’s pain drove her to act in a truly inspiration way: she founded Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. The organization was later renamed Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and is more commonly known to you and me as MADD.
Today MADD is responsible for game-changing legislation throughout America, which has in turn helped save tens of thousands of young people’s lives.
And so, it must be asked — was the death of Lightner’s 13-year old child a senseless and purposeless tragedy, or was Candy Lighter’s daughter an angel; a spiritual bridge through which countless other young lives have been saved, and families given hope? A reason for real hope.