In These Dark Times, a Bit of Goodness in the World by Karen Leslie Hernandez

In my almost 52 years, I feel as if this is the darkest time we have ever witnessed. I don’t need to name it all here, because we know.

I, like many of us, am struggling.

Struggling to make sense of this rhetoric, this nonsense, this pending (what feels like), governmental, pre-genocidal actions. I can’t pray. I can barely even think straight. This is not because Hillary didn’t win. And no, it’s not because I am a “Libtard.” This is because everything that is morally, ethically and theologically sound, is in absolute chaos. It is as if we are walking through this anarchy that is somehow normalized. This demonization of literally everyone, on all sides, is devastating and so unbelievably terrifying.

I am struggling to not hear children calling for their parents. I am struggling to read of or hear something positive and empathetic come out of our Administration’s mouths. I am wondering where this will all go. Because there certainly is no end in sight to the undeniable drive to obliterate everything that is “liberal.”  I find that fascinating, because everything I think, believe and care deeply about, is considered troubling to Conservatives.

I really think the Liberal and Conservative brains are wired differently.

With this sad sate of affairs, I find myself purposefully searching for good news. I have found the things that bring us together. That give us a sense of community. Things that make us smile and leave us with hope, not dread. Therefore, in all that is above, all that is unnamed, all that is destructive and urgently detrimental to our spirits, I give you this little bit of good news.

Last week, James Cordon and his Late, Late Show pulled off a seriously amazing Car Karaoke with Paul McCartney. This twenty-minute video is worth every minute. Ever wonder about the story of the song, Let It Be? The story is now revealed.

Just recently, the first Pay What You Can, grocery store opened up in Toronto. Something that should have existed long ago, is finally here. Letting anyone and everyone who should be able to shop, to do so with dignity. It’s about time!

Muslim women are now welcomed to serve as preachers in Mosques and schools in Egypt. This is huge and a giant step forward. Some might be impatient with this and even critical as to the baby steps this seems to be. I’ll take baby steps. They’re better than no steps forward.

This baby squirrel made the news in Anchorage, Alaska. Although it’s now wanted for a felony, I say, Good Squirrel!

Last, but not least, 28 year old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won New York’s 14th Congressional District Primary, Outing 19 year Congressional old timer Joe Crowley, who really had no idea that Alex would win, let alone unseat him. Described as a Democratic Socialist, this woman is someone to watch. Perhaps she’ll be our first female POTUS.

These stories may seem like floof and unimportant with everything else that is occurring across the nation and world right now. However, it’s all I’ve got. Whether this says I need to toughen up, or, maybe some perspective is needed – perhaps the Vietnam War era was darker. Perhaps the end of WWII and the knowledge of the Holocaust was darker. Perhaps if I lived in Myanmar and I was a Rohingya, or, in the Central African Republic where Muslims and Christians are killing each other as I write this, or, if I lived in Syria, where war is still ravaging the country. Perhaps I would see things differently. Perhaps.

In the meantime, I send light, peace and goodness to all those that are struggling. And hope. I’m sending a whole lot of hope too.


Karen Leslie Hernandez is a theologian and interfaith activist. With a focus in Christian-Muslim understanding, as well as religious fundamentalism and extremism, Karen is the only theologian who is a Latina and a United Methodist doing this type of theological work in the US. She has published with several media outlets including the Women’s United Nations Report Network, The Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue/Studies, the Interfaith Observer, and she is the only Christian to have published an ongoing Op-Ed Column with OnIslam out of Cairo, Egypt. As an instructor, Karen designed and taught an Interfaith Dialogue workshop with Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago, and she teaches workshops throughout the Bay Area. Karen has two theological master’s degrees, one from Andover Newton Theological School, the other from Boston University School of Theology, and she did her undergrad at Wellesley College in Peace and Justice Studies. She currently lives in San Francisco, has worked with the United Religions Initiative, is an Ambassador with Parliament of the World’s Religions, is pursuing her Doctor of Ministry at Claremont School of Theology, and she is also a certified domestic violence advocate.

12 thoughts on “In These Dark Times, a Bit of Goodness in the World by Karen Leslie Hernandez”

  1. I know you are well intentioned Karen, and I do sympathise – I too am totally angry at what passes for leadership on the world stage, and grieve and rage about what is happening in the USA, but the predominant use of “we” and “our” in the opening paragraphs of your essay here, is part of the problem; and this blinkered view is chronic in lots of writing that comes forth from inhabitants of the USA. There is forgetting of the fact that the reading audience is not inhabiting the same place as the writer, and may have in fact been experiencing “darkest of times” far greater than USA inhabitants for long periods, and thanks perhaps to USA policies. The “we” you speak of may not in fact be “we”, but actually quite limited in terms of global experience. You do come to it in the process of the essay, but it is only a “perhaps” and tentative: in my opinion the larger perspective needs to be well grasped, and by so many more people (especially in the USA) who assume they are writing for everyone.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. that’s the thing Sara: Karen’s “we” is is her perspective “as a person who lives in this country”. I and many readers are not “in this country” – that is my point. FAR is supposed to be catering to a global audience I thought; if a perspective is particular it needs to be stated. It is fine to be particular, the writer just has to be aware that it is. Also, “the darkest of times” have been experienced by many in your country throughout its history; some may feel that needs more recognition. As I said I realise that Karen is well intentioned, thus I am just pointing out a problem – as one who lives elsewhere. I (and many others globally) get tired of the ubiquitous assumption by US inhabitants who write, that “we” are “all”.


  2. I love this post – it is so honest – and like you I am struggling – Just this morning I went down to the river to watch the full moon set, and while experiencing that wonder could simply give thanks for what is – but “what is” is the wonder of nature – not the horrors we are living through.

    I wish I could send you the moon.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I woke up this morning with the realization that Trump views the future in a “Star Wars” scenario. I hope in a future where people care for the Earth and for each other, live in peace, end poverty, etc. It made me realize a number of things necessary to oppose a vision of war and oppression.
    We need to change hearts. Calling each other names and throwing verbal insults at those who disagree just plays into the hands of those who thrive on division and turmoil. No rising to the bait on Facebook or Twitter! I will act with respect toward those disagree with me.
    We need to continue to organize and support others who have the same vision for the future. And it’s not just one Country, but a World.
    We need to maintain hope so we have the energy we need, to do what we can. We need to speak out, not just among ourselves, but “on the street corners” where we might be, probably would be, pelted with rotten tomatoes – and arrested.
    And we need the balm of laughter as squirrels steal donuts; and the encouragement of little acts of kindness like one I saw in the background of a video where a protester in a wheel chair dropped her sign, and one of the police officers picked it up and handed it back to her.
    Because we are better than the image of warriors with laser swords destroying an “enemy” and claiming all the power. The seeds of Social Justice and Peace are sown in us. We just need to “tend our garden” so they grow and bear fruit.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think we’re falling back into a sort of medievalism. People all over the world–Turkey, Russia, Philippines, Thailand, some Central and South American countries, some African countries, the U.S.–are “electing” men they call president who are really almost medieval tyrants with “divine right” powers.

    Karen, thanks so much for these snippets of hope in the world.


  5. Thank you for your honesty. Your post reminds me of the classic hit by Ann Murray “A Little Good News” … May we all find some peace and joy while at the same time continuing to do what we can to open our hearts and heal whatever piece of world that is around us.
    Here’s the link to the song:


    1. I too am struggling. I have never been as disturbed by the political scene as I am today and my history starts with WWII. What perhaps disturbs me the most is the chaos and the lack of respect. Who will replace Justice Kennedy? What does that mean for Roe v Wade? Is it OK to exclude people from our country saying that they are a threat to our national security when we know that the basis is the fueling of hatred against a particular religious group? If I allow myself to feel encouraged, it is the number of women who have been successful in the primaries and will be candidates for the November 2018 election. Now they need to be elected and start the repair job. I wonder if women would have responded as they have, if Hillary Clinton was our president.


  6. Not “floof.” These are the sincere details of real life, examples of what people care about and want to focus on… but the constant recycling of big threats by people in big positions keeps us all on high alert and afraid so we cannot live peacefully and appreciate the simple beauty in the everyday… or have more sliding-scale groceries. Thank you.


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