“Before my parents passed and after they passed definitely influenced the way I raised my children. I make sure I don’t ever end a conversation without letting them know I love them, no matter what.” —Cheri Stephens (HEART GUIDE, Cheri lost her parents when she was 13 years old).
“We are continuing on with our lives, and we have been forced to reinvent it and change our goals.” —JoAnn Winterbottom (HEART GUIDE, she and her husband lost their daughter, Laura Kate Winterbottom).
As I glance out my window today, I see the ground blanketed in white with only a hint of blue in the vast, grey sky high above; brisk wisps of snow drift past as the wind brushes through the tall pines. Bundled in heavy winter coats, hats, and boots, my neighbors—a family of four—shovel snow from their drive. I hear the caw of the crows and watch as the neighbor’s playful Doberman prances about in their yard.
Our days are made of many such ordinary moments. We know our time here is limited. We know our loved ones do not live forever. We know we came here for a reason. We also know we have much more to learn as we continue to grow, to change, and to evolve.
With each new sunrise, the world in its magnificent splendor beckons us. Suffering and sorrow likewise call out to us, from both near and far.
When we face a daunting task, we prepare as best we can. We gather our loved ones, we head out into the cold, and—together—we forge a clear path forward. There is just that: Joining together with our friends, family, or neighbors. Remembering what matters. Helping one another when times get tough. Making mistakes. Learning. Getting up again the next day. Starting over. Saying thanks to those people who help us along.
Despite obstacles, we believe the work we do matters—not only for ourselves but also for future generations. We believe we are inherently worthy. We believe our life holds both meaning and purpose.
Finally, we believe that our thoughts and our deeds today have the power to influence tomorrow.
And so it is, in life. In loss. In sorrow. In joy.
Whatever this day and the upcoming days may bring, our inner resolve, calm, and strength can see us through.
Even in the midst of untold hardships we encounter as humans on this planet, we can choose to steadfastly believe:
In possibilities. In hope. In humanity.
In miracles. In magic.
In healing. In love.
Peace in the New Year,