Chirp.

chirp

There is something so uplifting about spring. Everything is busting into life with a combination of ferocity and hopefulness. We’ve been here before– the starting anew, the rebirth, the refusal to surrender to winter. And yet each time is the first time.

We breathe in.

We smile.

The birds are chirping.

We begin again.

Hope.

hope

Sunrise defeats night. The darkness will be driven away. When in the midst of the darkness, it may feel unending, but as day follows night, this, too, shall pass. The beauty of a sunrise is a lovely image to keep in mind when going through a problem. As sunrise defeats night, so hope conquers a problem. In times of great difficulty, we must hold on to hope that things will improve and that we can help.

Jane Goodall speaks to her hope for our future and, specifically, her hope in our youth in this moving speech.

She is right: if we don’t have hope, we give up, we do nothing. She says, “In this world of violence and fear, we must have hope for a better future.” That hope will sustain us and give us strength to solve the problems we face, as surely as day will follow night if we hold on.

Keep on.

ringbells

Maybe you’re older, or weaker, or not quite as sharp as you used to be. Maybe your energy is fading, or you’ve gotten depressed and overwhelmed. Maybe all your ducks aren’t in a row, and all your bells don’t ring. Maybe you don’t think you can make a difference.

It is in just such times that you must press on. Your gifts are needed. The world doesn’t need you to be perfect; it needs you to show up.

Ring your bell.

Starting again.

 

startoverSometimes we start down a path that feels, after a while, like a wrong turn. We think of turning back and taking a different path at the fork, but it’s a long way back, and we’ve made good time on the path we’re on. So we keep pushing forward. We still think we’re on the wrong path, but the fork in the road is even farther back and we’ve learned to get along on the path we’re on. Sometimes we make a mess of the path we’re on, or it becomes impenetrable. And yet we hesitate to start again. So we keep messing up or butting our heads against immovable objects. Because starting over sometimes feels like defeat rather than victory. But is it?

More from F. Scott Fitzgerald:

For what it’s worth…it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you’ve never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start over again.

Isn’t that a lovely benediction?

Making the best of our lives, seeing things that startle us, feeling things we’ve never felt, meeting people with a different point of view, and having the courage to start again if we find ourselves on the wrong path. Yes, please. That.

wingstoabird

So much depends on perspective. When we are mired in a difficult circumstance, it would be helpful to just lift up and fly above it and get a new perspective. Yet we are often trapped in the fetters of our own subjectivity, unable to realize that our current troubles are temporary, and we remain stuck in the problem and blind to any bigger picture.

Corrie Ten Boom was a Dutch watchmaker who, along with her family, sheltered Jews during the Holocaust. Her actions were fraught with danger but compelled by moral certitude. In prayer, her soul took flight and lifted her out of the horror of the day into the beauty of a larger truth.

We, too, can turn to the comfort of a larger power, tap into the stillness behind the chaos, and take comfort that we do not need to have all the answers. We can let our souls take flight.

Stay curious.

catwindow

Curiosity is a powerful motivator. It keeps us searching, questioning, wondering, hoping. It keeps us engaged in life. Think of all the things you have left to learn, the places yet to see, the surprises yet to unfold. Sometimes our best days and moments follow our absolute worst.  There is always something next.

Look closer.

vision

What opportunities lie buried in today’s difficulties? How can we look at a problem from a different angle? When we are overwhelmed or downtrodden, it is hard to believe that things will ever be better, but we have to keep looking, keep acting, keep hoping, keep believing. What we see on the surface is such a small tip of the iceberg of all that is.

Turn your face away from disappointment.

disappointment

Disappointment hurts. Perhaps you tried to help somebody, and they rebuffed your attempt or you thought something was going to work out in your favor, but it didn’t. It’s easy to get defeated. But when we ground ourselves in the present moment and consider all the opportunities here, we can move past disappointment and hope for a better resolution next time. We can begin to build again.

A time to grieve.

grief

 

This hurts. A physical, mind-numbing ache for what has been lost, not just the lives, though that is staggering, but also for the world we hoped for. A tragedy reminds us that the world is not peaceful yet, that there is so much work to be done, so much hurt to soothe, so many wounds to bind. Some turn to anger and lash out because this grief is heavy and painful. It is hard to bear. We are afraid. But even in the midst of our fear and our anger and all of our grief, there is beauty. The sun rises again. The birds sing. There is hope for a new, better day, yet still. Yet, still.

Redemption Song

by Kevin Young

Finally fall.
At last the mist,
heat’s haze, we woke
these past weeks with

has lifted. We find
ourselves chill, a briskness
we hug ourselves in.
Frost greying the ground.

Grief might be easy
if there wasn’t still
such beauty — would be far
simpler if the silver

maple didn’t thrust
it’s leaves into flame,
trusting that spring
will find it again.

All this might be easier if
there wasn’t a song
still lifting us above it,
if wind didn’t trouble

my mind like water.
I half expect to see you
fill the autumn air
like breath —

At night I sleep
on clenched fists.
Days I’m like the child
who on the playground

falls, crying
not so much from pain
as surprise.
I’m tired of tide

taking you away,
then back again —
what’s worse, the forgetting
or the thing

you can’t forget.
Neither yet —
last summer’s
choir of crickets

grown quiet.

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