Fires, hurricanes, politics — it can hardly be denied that we are exposed to a daily diet of terrible, traumatic, and shameful news. But through it all, I have noticed something very interesting. With each passing day, I find I am making a greater, more conscious effort to treat everyone I meet with kindness and love — and not just people, but plants and animals. Now, I don’t want to belabor this and go off on a philosophical tear. I only want to note that if this is so with me, then it must also be so with others, and by the millions. We are of this life. How else could it be? I suppose this is why I am hopeful in the face of it all, rather than angry, discouraged, or depressed. As miserable as things can be, for those of us lucky enough to survive, hard times are a gift. Hate is an immature, embarrassing option, not worthy of our better nature. Hateful actions by others are a reminder to get at the root of the darkness in our own lives, whatever that darkness may be. Feelings of anger, self-righteousness, and superiority prove only that there is more work to do. Love, and that work becomes joy.