August 25, 2021
It wasn’t long ago when I came across a certain political ad on my screen in the middle of watching a YouTube video. I couldn’t help but count down to the days when I can finally vote for the first time.
People expect you’d feel a bubbling excitement at the thought of being able to make your first legal decision as an adult. But all I felt was a looming heaviness settling over my chest. It was my underlying anxiety about what the future holds for both me and my country.
I realized that my anxiety was triggered when I evaluated the recent happenings in our nation. If we try to look at the entirety of our nation, we would be able to call it the benchmark of effective response to the pandemic and all other issues that it brought us. We both had wins and losses, but there are moments where I feel like the latter outweighs the former.
COVID and social media would only add to the stress I felt, pushing me to a point where it honestly got tiring to hope for a better future. Who knew it would be this exhausting to want something good? But amidst all this, there are also small moments in time where this simmering hope in me reignites into something beautiful and powerful.
These exact moments are what we must continue to hold on to and fight for.
In the middle of the troubles both the pandemic and the government have seemingly brought, there is still a relentless fire that burns in the hearts of humanity. In 2020 alone, people—more especially the youth—have continued to speak up and voice their grievances against injustices.
Hashtags that call for social justice and participation have made headlines all over the country. Youth groups have continuously been working on the sidelines as they strive to help in their own way. Movements like the Maginhawa Community Pantry have caused ripples to cascade all throughout the nation, allowing others like it to grow.
What then sets these people apart? As cliche as it sounds, I honestly think it’s love. It is a type of love that transcends past themselves, their families, and friends, and has the capacity to reach the hearts of people they don’t know. But, I think the most important point here is that it is a love all of us are capable of.
As Christians, we have the best source of love: Jesus. The love that enabled Him to give His life on the cross for all of mankind is the very same love that enables us to love from the center of who we are. And as long as we hold onto this, I truly believe that the spark of hope within us that was once dampened has now the ability to be reignited and start a wildfire within others as well.
So during the moments where we feel like we don’t have the capacity to change our situation, especially when it comes to the injustices in our country, I hope we all come back to the fact that it all begins with love.
Because with love, hope becomes a powerful catalyst for progress. We no longer come from a perspective of pushing away pain, but one of embracing compassion.
With this, we must then choose to act on this love. Avenues such as voting do just that.
Every ballot cast serves as our silent battle cry as we fight for a better future. It is our way of coming together as a people to patch the injustices we want to overcome, ultimately choosing to put our faith above our fears.
Through voting, we are able to set our starting point for the future. It does not determine the entirety of history, but it does have the ability to affect the momentum of change we want to see. It sets the foundation not only for the next administration, but the culture that surrounds the next generation.
As we then look forward, we see that life will continue to go on past the elections for years to come, and with it is a greater call to love. It is one all of us must answer. The love that we held as we cast our votes must pour out past the action itself, the people we know, and even time in its entirety.
It may sound incredibly taxing and complicated, yet all we need to do is open our hearts and let love seep in. As we allow God to continuously work in our lives, it will presently reflect in our actions. Soon, every move we make becomes seeded with love, whether it be conscious or unconscious.
The monotony of pressing “Add to Cart,” the seemingly mundane act of checking on a friend, or the simple online gaming sessions set up with peers now have the capability to turn into something life-giving. If this love trickles into more and more people in society, we now have the opportunity to stir up a whole generation. It then becomes something incredibly tangible.
It becomes a movement of love rooted in faith that has the ability to produce enduring growth that can be witnessed by many.
You may think that all of it is far off or even impossible, but you have to remember you are a part of this world as anyone is. Yes, nothing comes easy in reality, but you can always do something about it after. It all boils down to whether you choose to fight or not.
So when fear and anxiety come knocking at your door, I hope you allow yourself to answer and fight them with love and hope. Because when these battles we face are put together with others, it can coalesce into something that not only builds yourself, but our nation as well.