Finding Hope in a Dark World

Watching the news often depresses me. Murder. Kidnapping. Cyber bullying. War. Natural disasters. Very rarely is there a positive story. While I tend to avoid the news for my own well being, it just so happened that last week I was glued to the TV for Diane Sawyer’s exclusive interview with Jaycee Lee Dugard, the girl who was kidnapped and lived for 18 years in her kidnapper’s backyard. A haunting tale, the more her story developed, the more upset I became with humanity.

Oprah’s episode on Chelsea, a 21-year-old who was abused by her parents and lived in a cage for the first seven years of her life, followed the two-hour Jaycee Lee Dugard story. And there I sat, for three hours glued to the couch in disbelief.

How is it possible for such evil people to exist in this world and get away with these atrocious things? Chelsea’s parents only had to spend one year in jail for child endangerment and they were let free. Jaycee’s captors have life imprisonment, but the man who kidnapped her was previously in jail for a long sentence before he was let out for “good behavior.”

While I sat there wondering how God allows these people to exist, the women in each story brought me back to reality. You have a choice to be a victim and throw your entire life away or you can stand up, move forward and make a life and learn from your experiences. If you do that, you can live a great life, Chelsea told Oprah. I was speechless.

Each woman chose not to hold hatred in her heart and move on with her life. In all honesty, I don’t know if I would be able to do the same.

Now a mother to a two-year-old, Chelsea said she felt the experience is making her a great mother. After all she’s been through; she works extra hard at making sure her son has the perfect childhood she never had.

While the Casey Anthony trial still remains a heated debate, regardless of how you feel about the verdict, I think the overall message throughout these horrible tales is to truly appreciate each day and the families we have. While the day-to-day bickering and annoyances often rile us all up, these news stories slapped me back into reality and made me appreciate my life so much more. It also stressed the importance of trusting your gut and if you see or think something is wrong, follow through and let someone know. If only officers did a little more digging in the backyard of Jaycee’s captor on the 60+ patrol visits, they would have found her much sooner. But, Jaycee refuses to live in the past and we should heed her advice and do the same.

Annie Reuter, is a freelance writer and music blogger who covers concerts and music festivals around the country. In constant pursuit of the next show to attend and band to interview, Annie keeps up her own music blog, You Sing, I Write, where she uncovers what it's really like to spend the day with a rock star.