“There is still some good in this world, and it's worth fighting for.” J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers
This week marks one year since the passing of Anene Booysen, a horrific event that gripped our nation. It is not often that something makes our country stand still and take notice; a country numbed by the recurrent exposure to violent crime. For a while, we were confronted by the reckless and indiscriminate nature of criminality in South Africa. The sheer evil represented by the daily brutal acts of rape and murder makes one sick with disbelief. Not even our children are spared by the merciless march of malevolence that trample on their innocence.
In the face of such evil, there are only two kinds of people: Those who believe nothing can be done about it (and hide behind all kinds of excuses to justify their cowardice) and those who believe that evil can be overcome and do something about it. The quote a used at the beginning comes from one of the most inspirational moments in moviemaking history. Confronted by a reckless hatred; tired, overwhelmed and discouraged, two of the protagonists of the movie find solace in turning their eyes away from the darkness and gazing towards the inspirational beauty that still exists in the world. At that instant, they realise that all the doom in the world cannot smother the flame within us; the inextinguishable fire that burns for that which we hold on to.
So what are we holding on to? I have discovered the awe inspiring, sublime wonder of the world within my family. My wife and two children are my beacons of light, guiding my vessel through the dangerous waters of this life. They inspire me to want to make this world a better place, not for me but for them, and I will do so until the day I pass on from this world. For others, the fire in their spirit is kindled by the inexpressible natural beauty of our planet. Their passion drives them to fight for sustainable development and conservation – even if it means that they have to spend time in a foreign prison for their cause. Some see the powerful potential of humanity, braving the dangers of war torn regions in order to bring medical and humanitarian relief to the victims of conflict.
Admittedly, when things take a turn for the worse, it becomes very difficult to see the silver lining. When darkness and doubt threatens to break our spirit and all that we see are violence, hunger, pain, greed and anger – it would seem that there is simply no hope against the malice of the world. It is during such times that we have to remind ourselves that there is still some good in the world. We have to force ourselves to take our eyes off the frightening machineries of our time and find motivation in the beauty that we still have with us.
During this week, stop yourself from focusing on the bad news all the time and find the colourful bursts of light of beauty that flows all around us. Rediscover that one thing that is worth fighting for and rekindle the fire within you.
For if we fail to recognize the beauty around us, we might also lose our last hope. Like a butterfly sitting gracefully on a flower, we must protect our beauty and goodness from those who carelessly walk through our garden. There is good in this world, and it is worth fighting for.