In the past few days, weeks and months, as the result of extraordinarily destructive storms and “acts of nature,” many of our countrymen have lost everything.
The media has been filled with unforgettable, profoundly moving and heart-breaking stories – stories of people from whom everything has been taken…people who have lost their homes, all their cherished possessions, and in the most unthinkable cases, even members of their families…including their beloved pets.
I’ve found it hard even to imagine what they’ve been going through; how they are able to put one foot in front of the other and how they can even think about moving forward.
But they do.
And somehow, miraculously, they are getting back up. Somehow they are finding something – more powerful than their loss – in themselves: Resilience, hope, resolve, courage, love…and the power of the human spirit…that enables them to stand up, clean up, reach out, help out and do what needs to be done…to some way, somehow move forward.
If any of us have been wondering if, as a people, we’ve lost our will, our tenacity, our flat out determination to endure, we can stop wondering now. We’ve still got it. And if situations like the ones so many of our countrymen, and our other nearby friends, are enduring, don’t serve to further steel our spirits, nothing will.
“We all have something,” a friend told me recently. It’s true. Maybe it’s not as all-encompassing and earth-shattering as the people we’ve been reading about, but nevertheless, extremely painful: A shattered dream, a broken heart, a wound that just won’t heal… “And somehow,” she said, “we keep going.”
And this seems like a good time to celebrate that spirit - our spirit – the spirit that enables us to, no, insists, that we get back up.
You remember the story-teller, Oriah Mountain Dreamer, who wrote in The Invitation: “It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done for the children.”
She continues: “I want to know if you can live with failure – yours and mine – and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, ‘Yes!’”
And finally, “It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back”
Yes! Together, we will reach our arms out, hold each other tightly… and get back up.