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If You Feel Like Giving Up: Unthinkable

Sometimes this world can be hard and cruel. If you've ever felt like giving up, these words from Congressman Jamie Raskin's book Unthinkable, which talks of his son Tommy's suicide and his own despair after the January 6 insurrection occurred just six days later, were inspiring to me:


Back when we first lost Tommy, I was tempted, in my darkest moments, to say, "Let them have it." And by them, I meant all of the forces aggressively ruining our world—the people denying COVID-19, climate change, the Holocaust; the people clearly wanting to bring back the plagues of fascism and chaos.


But then I would think of [my daughters and their spouses]; I would think of [my wife]; I would think of all of Tommy's amazing cousins; of my brother and sisters; I would think of my friends and their children; my cousins; my students; the people I worked with; my staff; the people I represented; the thousands of people who wrote us [after Tommy committed suicide] whom I can never properly thank. I would think of people's grandchildren whom I know and those I don't know; the grandparents I know and I knew; the people whom I loved.


So much goodness in this hard world.


Tommy used to quote Camus' statement, "The world I live in is loathsome to me, but I feel one with the men who suffer in it."


I would think of Tommy in the last part of his final message to us, which was not different in substance from the message of his life: "Look after each other, the animals, and the global poor for me. All my love, Tommy." He did not tell us to give up, to despair, to surrender, to become selfish or despondent. He gave us and he gave the world all his love.


Did I not have more love to give? I was not suffocating in illness like my dear son was at the end. What else could I do but carry on?"


Maybe they will inspire you not to give up, too, when the world gets you down. There are those who try to fill the world with darkness. Those of us who are trying to fill it with more light must persevere. Although there are many voices out there giving us a distorted picture of a world filled with hate, war, evil, and selfishness, there is so much goodness and love in the world worth fighting for.


Don't give up!

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