resiliency of the human spirit

All I Want…

A View from My Window: Reflections of the Executive Director

There is a lovely idea in the Celtic tradition that if you send out goodness from yourself, or if you share that which is happy or good within you, it will all come back to you multiplied ten thousand times. – John O’Donohue

I’m trying to hold that thought.

My heart has been uncharacteristically heavy of late. It often gets that way when I watch the news. The world feels upside down—and I find myself wondering what’s happened to civil discourse (which history suggests is fundamental to representative democracy), let alone common courtesy.

In discussions of politics, religion, or nearly any other subject these days, I’m saddened by our inability to reconcile opposing views. Challenged by differences of perception or opinion, we default to fear and vilification, rather than turning to wonder and attempting to understand and engage the other. Instead of listening with empathetic ears, we arm ourselves for battle—figuratively, if not literally.

If I, a healthy, financially-secure, middle-aged man (OK, slightly past middle age!), can harbor such discouraging thoughts during the holidays, how difficult must these times feel for children—especially those who face the added burdens of abuse, neglect, or exposure to drugs and violence?

This is a really tough season for them. Behind the colored lights, shiny ornaments, and familiar carols are a host of unfulfilled dreams and unrealized expectations. Clearly, all is not “merry and bright” in their worlds. That awareness unsettles me.

So I appreciate John O’Donohue’s reminder that the goodness we share comes back ten thousand times. And I’m equally encouraged by Mark Nepo’s suggestion in his Book of Awakening:

It helps to remember that despite all our struggles…despite the weight of living, there is an irrepressible ounce of spirit in each of us, a wellspring we carry within, that can be blocked but not contained. It emanates through all beings as the longing for love and peace.

I know that longing. I’ve felt it my entire life. I’ve witnessed it in my travels around the country and across the globe. And I believe in the extraordinary capacity and resiliency of the human spirit. Which is why, in times of darkness, I continue looking for light.

Children’s Center is a place of light.

A place of hope. A place where children can truly believe that something better is possible.

This time of year—and this year in particular—I can identify with a star that shines more brightly than all the others. One that promises “comfort and joy” to the poor and powerful alike. One that reminds us that, while our innate goodness and irrepressible spirit may be blocked, it can’t be contained.

This holiday season, and throughout the new year, may your spirit be irrepressible. May your longing for love and peace be fulfilled. And may the goodness and happiness you share be returned to you ten thousand times.