The Power of One
The Power of One
I’ve been thinking all week about the power of one. One moment. One person. One action. Any of these can change your life forever.
It takes one person to fall in love with you to change your whole world around for the better. It also takes just one person with violent intentions to turn your world upside down.
All week long, we have listened and read stories of heartbreak, anguish, and pain about beautiful lives that were cut short. Lives forever altered. Families forever changed. Love stories that will never get their happy endings.
All week long, we have also listened and read stories about individuals who stepped into the line of fire to save someone. Often, these were total strangers who risked their own lives to save another. Individuals like concertgoer Jonathan Smith, who raced to rescue at least 30 people from the scene in Las Vegas. He was struck with two bullets in the process, then had his own life saved by another brave individual, off-duty officer Tom McGrath.
We’ve seen so many stories like this one come out of the tragedy in Las Vegas this week. We’ve also seen so many stories about individuals in the hurricane-ravaged areas of our world who have stepped up to help. We’ve seen stories of everyday people rising to the occasion, just because they care. We’ve seen stories of doctors, nurses and law enforcement officials who have served and protected because that’s who they are, at their core.
In the last few months, we have been inundated with stories about everything that is wrong with this great country. Yes, as I wrote last week, we do have a lot of work to do. We need to do a better job when it comes to racism and police brutality. We need to do a better job when it comes to our health care. This week, we are reminded that we also need to do a way better job addressing senseless violence and gun control.
Now, before you shake your head at the mere mention of gun control, please pause for one minute. No one wants to live next door to a neighbor who has dozens of guns in their home. No one needs to own an assault weapon. No one needs to own a silencer.
That’s not gun control. Those are gun rights out of control.
So, let’s lay down our arms in this debate for a moment and think. We haven’t made any progress, and our neighbors are dying at the hands of people who have no business having a gun. Do we really want to stand witness to one more tragedy like the one we just watched unfold in Las Vegas?
I know the good men and women of this country don’t want to see this happen again. I also know that the number of Americans who want to put an end to this type of tragedy far outweigh those who are okay with things the way they are. So, think about your voice in this space. Take a moment to think sensibly about what’s going on, and to ask yourself what each of us can be doing to make a difference.
As we work to solve these great challenges of our time, I know that I want to use my voice to keep writing about the overwhelming good that exists in our country. We certainly need to focus more on that.
Today, I won’t mention the name of the man who brought about pain, grief, and unimaginable horror to so many innocent lives. Instead, I will call out the miraculous human beings who stepped up to save others. Those who stood with others so they wouldn’t die alone. Those who are still working around the clock to make sure that the number of fatalities doesn’t increase from 59 to 60, and beyond.
On this day, at this moment, let’s devote ourselves to focusing on the powerful good that is out there showing itself to us day in and day out.
We can each do what we can to keep the light on. Otherwise, we will surely lose hope.
Want to receive Maria’s perspective, as well as other inspirational content, in your inbox each week? Sign up to receive Maria’s Sunday Paper newsletter by clicking HERE.
P.S. This week amidst all of the news about Las Vegas and Puerto Rico, we also paused for a moment to remember one of the music world’s greatest icons: Tom Petty. Petty was a larger than life talent, as well as a kind and generous man. He regularly donated his musicianship to the Special Olympics’ “A Very Special Christmas” album, and each year, with any residuals earned, he gave back. Petty’s legacy will live on via his beautifully written lyrics and sounds.
NEWS AND VIEWS ABOVE THE NOISE
NEWS TO OPEN YOUR HEART
“I Didn’t Want Him to Be a John Doe”: As we talk about the power of one, another story that has stuck with me all week is that of Heather Gooze. Heather was a bartender at the festival Sunday night and stayed with a stranger for hours as he died in her arms. It’s a heartbreaking tale, but definitely worth watching as a reminder of the good Americans in our midst. [WATCH]
A VIEW TO MAKE YOU THINK
A Mom on a Mission to Reform Gun Laws: Shannon Watts is determined to use the power of her one voice to save the lives of millions of others. As the founder of Moms Demand Action, which is part of Everytown for Gun Safety, Shannon is fighting to change laws and change minds. No matter where you stand on the issue, it’s worth taking one moment to hear what she has to say. [READ MORE]
NEWS FOR YOUR MIND
Using the Power of Your Mind to Open Your Heart. My friend Angie Johnsey always has a way of reminding me of the power we have to center and calm our minds. It’s no easy feat, believe me, but she knows how to guide us to a space where we can use our minds for good. This week, she shares an exclusive essay with you about how to silence the fears and threats that surround us. [READ MORE]
A VIEW FOR YOUR DINNER TABLE CONVERSATION
Facing the Future Without Fear, Together: As we wrestle with how to create the change we want to see in our world, let us not forget the powerful impact we can have just with our choice of words. In this compelling speech, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks challenges us to think about what could happen if we swapped “I” with “We” and “Self” with “Other.” [WATCH]
ARCHITECTS OF CHANGE OF THE WEEK:
Our world has undoubtedly been made a better place thanks to the hard, incredible, groundbreaking work of Nobel Peace Prize winners who have believed in the power of their one voice and have fought against the odds to create the change they wanted to see.
On Friday, the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a coalition of grassroots groups in over 100 countries that are doing everything they can to draw attention to “the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons.” At a time when the fear of nuclear warfare dominates our headlines, having this group recognized for their work of aiming to eliminate nuclear weapons is so important.
My friend Mary Oliver has a new book out this week that’s definitely full of powerful words. Called “Devotions,” she told me that she selected that word as the title of the book because everything within it represents what her life is devoted to. I asked her (probably naively) if she had a favorite poem and she answered (clearly as always), “No.” So, today I share with you one of my favorites. I encourage you to pick up her book and find one for yourself.
INSPIRATION FOR THE WEEK AHEAD
SHOP FOR YOUR MIND
I was so excited this week to announce a new partnership with my dear friend Sean Hayes, one of the stars of NBC’s beloved sitcom “Will & Grace.” From now until October 20, you can donate to the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement using this link and be entered to win a trip to LA to visit the set of “Will & Grace!” You’ll also get to tour the set and meet the cast. Go here to learn more. Enter the contest today!
Get Empowered. Pass It Forward.
Visit the shop on MariaShriver.com to learn more about Maria’s line of books and products! A portion of all proceeds benefit her nonprofit, the Women Alzheimer’s Movement.
READ MORE ABOUT WHAT I'VE BEEN THINKING
Here we are in a new year, with the promise of a new day. New days. New years. Earlier this week, my dear friend Oprah Winfrey delivered a powerful speech about a new day being on the horizon. I love that imagery, I love her, and I love that truth. I, for one, believe...read more
Last year around New Year’s, my kids and I stood around a fire. One by one, we threw into the fire what we wanted to burn from the past year. We also voiced our intentions for our lives moving forward. We did it again this year, but this time, I had just one intention...read more
On this New Year’s Eve, we here at The Sunday Paper want to take a moment to say thank you for being in community with us this year. Each week, Maria shares her “I’ve Been Thinking” essays, as well as news and views from others who are moving humanity forward, with...read more