One breath of consideration…

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My new book Justice starts with the following first sentence: “Sympathy shines the only light in the dark impassable tunnels constructed between all of us.”

Being a work of fiction, after that preface, I cannot stand by any of the other statements or claims in the book. Instead, Justice might more reveal what a person in that dark, dark, dark tunnel would feel or believe as they tragically fail to make use of that one light.

Nonetheless, in the theme of that darkness, one character describes what the act of one human slowing choosing to strangle another would entail: “All it would have taken is one moment–one moment–of indecision. One breath. Literally, one breath. One breath of consideration…”

We all have that choice to make. We can give into our moralizing anger, our self-righteous destructiveness, our overpowering fears. We can distract ourselves with hate as we seek to punish. We can self-medicate with our indulgences, whether it is alcohol, gambling, overeating, television, compulsive shopping, gossiping. We can and often do much of that, all while we continue to neglect those in need of our sympathy, all while we try to invent some imaginary thing that could justify it all. But light doesn’t need justification. Justification–justice–is the symptom of the dark.

Unlike in the drama of fiction, it’s not necessarily only those nearest, both emotionally and physically, who we neglect.

Over 3 million children under 5 years of age starve to death each year.

Shall we give them a breath of consideration?

Even just one life-saving breath?

What about the millions of nonviolent human beings rotting in cages? Do we have a second breath for them? Well, I suppose we need to take the first before we have the option to do the second.

We aren’t characters in a dark dramatic story. We can turn towards the light. We do not have to sit in the lonely dark and self-medicate our misery. We don’t have to neglect starving children and hide our guilt. We don’t have to neglect those that could be given our sympathy, both near and far to us, and accept an angry, vengeful, and self-medicating existence. We don’t have to be so lonely, and we don’t have to fear the light.

We don’t have to think like my characters in Justice.

We can do better.

Every passing moment is a chance to turn it all around.

Published by Scott Hughes

I am the author of Achieve Your Dreams. I also published the book Holding Fire: Short Stories of Self-Destruction. I have two kids who I love so much. I just want to be a good role model for them. I hope what I do here makes them proud of me. Please let me know you think about the post by leaving a comment below!

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  1. I love that quote from Vanilla Sky, it brings up the ever present possibility that anyone could change their life or direction. I feel like so many people get caught up in the idea that every emotion, situation, or experience lasts forever because sometimes it feels like it could. But the reality of it is, that we all are capable of changing. We can be better, we can be stronger, we can learn to be happy. But sometimes it is just easier to sit in negativity, to have an excuse to use whatever vice that seems to get us through the everyday struggles of life. Some would rather just stay miserable rather than go out of their way to help themselves or others, like Brynn in your book.

  2. There are so many negative and cynical people in the world today. Truthfully, I’m probably one of them. Looking around at the state of our world doesn’t give you much hope in your fellow human beings, but when I read your posts, I see that there are people who still care and are trying to build a better future. I just want to say Carry on and don’t lose hope.

  3. Well said! I have read and loved your book and published a review.

    Your post reminds me of the quote by Edmund Burke: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Our world is in bad shape (world-hunger, prejudice, Anti-Semitism, wars), and it is indeed warming to know that there are people who still care. Thank you and carry on with the good work! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I have read and loved your book! Can’t wait for your next one!

    This a very powerful and thoughtful post. You are absolutely right about we have the power to change things if we want to. Unfortunately, not many think this way. This is why I feel people like you trying to reach and create awareness is amazing. I wish there were more people thinking about a little more about others and a little less about themselves (I fail at this sometimes). Can you imagine if everyone in the world thought this way? Everyone, especially those in need, would be living in a much better place.

    Thank you for your message!

  5. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by all the problems in the world. Easy to think we can’t make a difference. Your post reminds me of a story though about a man who would walk the beach and throw back all the starfish that would wash ashore. Someone asks him why he is doing that, there are too many, he can’t possibly make a difference. The man picks up a starfish, throws it into the ocean, and says,”It makes a difference to that one”.
    We may not be able to do much but we can do our part to make the world a better place ๐Ÿ™‚ Keep on caring!

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