Elie Wiesel

“Just as despair can come to one only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings.” –Elie Wiesel

This year has felt like watching dominos that have been set up, slowly falling over. It has been hard for me to feel hopeful about much of anything. But recently I saw two things on television, one on HBO, the other on PBS, which helped to put some things in perspective. It also reminded me of a true story about a tree – read on. I shared these things with my work teammates earlier this week, because I found them interesting and thought they offered a different spin on all of the doom and gloom around lately. The two documentaries are well worth the time to watch, I think.

The PBS documentary “The Age of Nature” (episode 3) shared about the ways the world can restore nature to fight climate change. For instance, just planting trees can support absorbing the excess carbon in the atmosphere. The HBO documentary (based on a book) “The Soul of America” traces the inevitable ups and downs of our nation from Colonial times to present day.

These documentaries reminded me it’s all about transformation.  Life is about transformation.  If every living thing is always changing, then there is always hope that things will potentially be better in some ways, because they – we – will be different than yesterday.  We also have the power to transform things, and the power to transform ourselves in some ways.

And, if nothing else, for anyone who at times feels like there is nothing to feel hopeful about, here’s that story about a tree. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, a single tree was found at ground zero. Though it was severely damaged, it was still alive. After it was found, the New York City Parks Department moved it to an arboretum in the Bronx where staff spent time to care for and restore it. When it was found, it was eight feet tall. It now stands at more than 30 feet tall, and was replanted at Memorial Plaza where the towers once stood. Traumatized things – and people – can survive and thrive, if given the space and things they need to heal.