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I’ve never disappeared for two months before, but due to some personal reasons, blogging hasn’t been something I’ve really been able to sit down and do. It’s finally time to come back though.

Tragedy after tragedy seems to have impacted the U.S. this past year. In the past month or so, we’ve had the Boston Marathon bombings and the Moore, Oklahoma tornado. One man-made, one a force of nature; both deadly and both drawing national and international attention.

As a member of the media during these national tragedies, what has been amazing to me is just how interconnected we all are. I live in Grand Island, Nebraska, which most people have never heard of. (It’s okay, I hadn’t either before I moved here.) It has a population of about 55,000, and many people probably can’t even figure out where it should be on a map. Yet both the Boston Marathon and the Moore tornado had direct ties to locals here.

Hours after the explosions in Boston, we got in contact with Grand Island resident Tom Osterbuhr, one of the many marathon runners from central Nebraska that we spoke to that day. He was less than a 100 yards away from the finish line. Another runner from a town just south of here was one of the last runners to officially finish the marathon.

Then yesterday, in the aftermath of the EF-5 tornado that hit Moore on Monday, I spoke with Grand Island native Joseph Ahlers as well as his mother, grandmother, and uncle. Ahler’s daughter, along with her mother, were inside one of the elementary schools destroyed by the tornado.

The miracle in all of this? None of these individuals suffered anything more than a few bruises and scratches. (Psychological trauma is a whole different topic.)

Small world after all, isn’t it?

The world may seem to be a downtrodden place to face right now, but amidst it all, there’s hope. Hope that arises from the strength of communities and the kindness of strangers.

Just this morning a photographer from Los Angeles emailed me through my website. He had seen my story on the Ahlers and wanted to reach out to them to see if they could benefit from the photography fundraiser he’s started to organize. And he’s just one of many who are using their talents and capabilities to help people they’ll probably never meet.

So perhaps it’s not such a bad world after all.

I leave you with a photo I took that embodies hope to me.

Wind-whipped and struggling, but still standing and always optimistically looking upward.

Wind-whipped and struggling, but still standing and always optimistically looking upward.

#PrayForOklahoma.

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