Is there still light somewhere?

Being human is a jarring juxtaposition between pride and shame. I look around me, and I feel honored to be a person: to be part of a species that sacrifices for each other, loves each other, that helps and cares for strangers. I read heartwarming stories about random acts of kindness and communities rallying together after tragedy. These stories are just one of millions of daily examples of humans doing what we do best, no matter how small or grand the gesture.

But today, like many of us, my heart is heavy. Not as heavy as those of people who saw the cities they love on fire last night in Ukraine, or of those whose loved ones died during this ongoing pandemic, or of families who fled Afghanistan to escape the Taliban, and more. But as lucky as I am, my heart still hurts. Our hearts, collectively, are so hurt and stretched thin by compounding tragedy. And it all feels like too much.

The pain isn’t the most jarring part of it all. What’s far worse isn’t the existence of suffering itself, but that it’s us, humans, who inflict it on each other, fueled by what feels like a growing divide in our morals. That the light and the dark within us are thrashing against each other in almost endless succession. In a cycle that never seems to stop.

I look around and feel shame, almost disgust, to be part of a species that would hurt each other without remorse or second thought. To see people profit off of disinformation that takes human lives. To see school boards deny racism and try to erase history, to see world leaders use soldiers and civilians as pawns in an elaborate and destructive ego play. And as hate crimes against minorities skyrocket, I’m left wondering that big, existential question: Why are we here? For every step forward, how many steps back? Sometimes, I grow numb and my heart hardens as a defense against an even more difficult feeling to swallow: that our world is utterly out of control and that we are all powerless to stop the pain.

But as we try to make sense of this, we can’t loose sight of the goodness of our kind: the warmth, the generosity, the selflessness that’s even bigger than all of the bad. We are magnificent beings. And our brilliance is defined not so much by the intricacy of our minds, but by the love in our hearts.

I wish I had more concrete hope to offer. But I’ll offer what I can: no one can extinguish the light of hope within us. No one can take away our free will to dare to imagine that somehow, we are all making the world a better place, even in the “little” lives we lead.

I’ve never been prouder to be human, and I’ve never felt so dismayed and lost about it either. But right now, I’m holding onto this: Hope and faith may be buried, but they’re not gone, not as long as we’re here.

With all my love,

Cynthia Betubiza


I originally planned a different post for this week. But like so many of you, I stayed up late reading and watching the news, in horror, as Russia invaded Ukraine. I wrote up that short poem and started writing this.

I want Become All to be a positive space, but not one that glosses over the obvious pain the world is feeling. I won’t shy away from the hard stuff.

While writing this, I thought others could relate to how strange and jarring it feels to live through so many historical events, to be reminded of both the best and the worst of us almost constantly. If you feel this inner conflict too, I see you.

It’s hard to keep any sense of hope alive right now, but remember: there’s things the world can take from us, and things it can’t.

Thanks, again, for reading. I hope everyone takes some time to take care of themselves during all of this.

Lastly, if you’d like these stories sent straight to your inbox, please consider signing up for the Become All newsletter.

I love you all.

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