Essays,  Photo stories

Looking for hope in dark times

“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.” ? Kurt Vonnegut

Sunset on Silver Beach, St. Joseph / Cindy La Ferle


Every day this year, I’ve been reminding myself to limit my intake of news on current events. Despite our ongoing national turmoil, I keep looking for all that’s beautiful, respectful, compassionate, wise, and loving. I try to block out (or avoid) anything divisive, combative, abusive, or hateful. 

In other words, maintaining my optimism is now a challenge requiring daily discipline and discretion.

This means that my world has become deliberately smaller; more curated and contained. I find myself drawn to films, books, TV programs, and social situations in which people nurture and uplift each other. I draw closer to friends who think fearlessly, act kindly, live creatively, give generously, and share a more hopeful view of our future. 

But sometimes, like this morning, I turn on the television and learn of yet another mass shooting — yet another national crisis that fills me with dread and sadness. I know this too shall pass, as surely as I know that nothing will be done to change it. Right now, I’m struggling hard to believe that the world is still a beautiful place. ~CL  



Throughout my career, I've worked as a book production editor, travel magazine editor, features writer, and weekly newspaper columnist. My award-winning lifestyles features and essays have appeared in many national magazines and anthologies, including Newsweek, Reader's Digest, The Christian Science Monitor, Writer's Digest, Victoria, Better Homes & Gardens, Bella Grace, and more. My weekly Sunday "Life Lines" column ran for 14 years in The Daily Tribune (Royal Oak, MI) and won a First Place (Local Columns) award from the Michigan Press Association. My essay collection, Writing Home, includes 93 previously published columns and essays focusing on parenthood and family life.

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