A lotus in a time of hope

This exquisite lotus, which I photographed on a recent holiday, only shows its ravishing beauty at night. It seems a particularly apt reminder that at the most difficult times we are in greatest need of loving kindness, thoughtfulness, harmony and beauty. It is also a stark reminder that our world needs, that we need far greater kindness, thoughtfulness, generosity and peace – and who will generate this, if not us?

I woke up this morning with the idea that we need to be far more active and loving, far more stubborn even in our commitment to life. So easy to dismiss as sentimental, but living lovingly is a far tougher call than giving way to power games, self-righteousness, fury, spitting out our contempt for others or causing them harm.

No one can create a kinder world but individuals who are willing to see that their personal wellbeing and safety absolutely depend on the safety and wellbeing they share with others – and create with others. Our personal happiness depends on how we think about ourselves, on caring about others – and taking their wellbeing as seriously as our own. We have the resources to create a safer world. We have the knowledge. Do we have the will?

Those of us living in the most privileged of circumstances – in safe homes, in safe countries – can bring that vision to life in the smallest and least observed moments of our lives, as well as in the biggest, most life-changing decisions we will ever make. We can refuse to normalize violence in any of its forms – or find excuses for it. We can look around us – and see what contributes to this great gift of life, rather than devaluing it.

That’s my prayer, my hope, my passion.