Life adventures, inspiration and insight; shared in articles, advice, personal chats and pictures.
What if life is far more wonderful than we know? Would we feel compelled to pooh-pooh it so we don’t look naive? Would we reject the possibilities because we don’t feel worthy? All this sounds like mystical fairy dust, but I’ve run into the nuts and bolts of inexplicable goodness lately, and it certainly feels real.
Depression was squatting on my shoulders, muttering to me that Christmas is just another day without friends and family. Gifts aren’t merely poor substitutes; they’re miserable stand-ins for a good hug. “Oh, that’s so nice! Thank you!” on loop by phone or text or mail. And that’s if your friends and family could afford or would bother to send gifts. Add to that the contributions that entertainment makes—movies about fighting and explosions and hate and lies, political commentary about fighting and disasters and hate and lies, medical reports about death and uncertainty and hostility, and news of the imminent destruction of our world as we’ve known it and the people who don’t mind helping the disintegration along if it’s profitable enough. Even cheery gatherings feel brittle, balanced precariously on the assumption that this won’t be the party that kills somebody. How could we avoid feeling depressed?
One lesson I learned from my early days of teaching was when you care enough without conditions, people surprise you, even if you sometimes misjudge what’s working. For me, the love I felt for those early classes of students lasted all of us 45 years. Why? My conclusion is love is the ultimate power, with or without religion or education or even skill. Although I didn’t know it, my love saved the lives of more than one student who was contemplating suicide. The students told me so themselves 45 years later.
Love can also light up connections we didn’t realize were there or thought had expired. One person I knew had suffered a terrible accident as a child, an accident that was made worse by the apathy of an older sibling who observed and then abandoned the victim who was crying and bleeding profusely. When the victim finally released the leftover emotional hurt after 40 years of silence around the experience, the next week that person received a written apology for the incident and conciliatory gifts from the estranged offending party who lived many miles away.
In another case, a woman I’ll call Dotty was struggling with fear over her potentially terminal disease. She was using hypnosis to help herself combat the disease when a wise guide who appeared to her in her mind assured her she had the power to heal herself. The guide was a recently deceased relative who introduced herself by inducing a minor memory the two shared from their early childhood—a memory no one else would know. Dotty is improving.
Although historians tell us Jesus was born somewhere between 4-7 BC (due to faulty math) and not on Christmas (due to a need to use a popular festival date), people of any faith or none at all recognize that once we dispense with cynicism, hope is left in the bottom of the pot, waiting for us to warm it up and serve it. We simply need to stir it and add a dash of positive action. Why not? Why not do your little part to make this world better—a smile, a helping hand, an empathetic ear? We have the strength of unity and love when we use it. We are connected. As the good witch Glinda in The Wizard of Oz reminds us, “You had the power all along, my dear. You just had to learn it for yourself.”