Thursday, December 12, 2013

Take Heart: Hidden Champions Everywhere!

I just finished looking through a photo book tribute done for a friend of mine who retired as principal from an alternative school. She's pretty humble, so I won't name her. I was blown away by the accolades. But, knowing her, she deserved every one.

Having explored the book her staff gave her as she finished 15 years at the helm of the school that provided the last hope for kids in their community, I easily surmised that this was the place the "unwanted" students could feel at home, and perhaps gain the skills and confidence to succeed as adults. My friend probably had lots to do with the caring and compassionate environment, drawing out the best from staff and students, much like...

...the dedicated homeless liaisons at school districts across the land. One huge perk of my nomadic lifestyle under the HEAR US banner is getting to meet hidden champions who pursue the impossible on behalf of invisible homeless students. I've seen liaisons do everything from begging for prom fixings for a student who's made it that far to schlepping the flat-tired bicycle home for repair, and much, much more.

Having directed a large homeless shelter for many years, I witnessed countless mostly invisible kindnesses extended to society's throw-aways. And lest one think that the kindness was a one way street, think again.

The goodness and generosity from "have-not" to have-not, or to "haves" was a constant joy. "Here, you've got to walk further than I do to get to work. Take my gloves." Or, "I saw them giving away boots at the soup kitchen today. You were at school, so I grabbed you a pair." Or, "I'll go with you to the doctor's so you don't have to go alone." Or "Let me carry that box for you, Diane." You get the idea.

With the spate of news stories about ugly deeds and cruelty as daily fodder, it's easy to forget that goodness and kindness is prevalent. My experience tells me it is. I just wanted to reassure you...

...and to thank you for whatever ways you bring goodness into this hurting world. And to thank you for your immeasurable kindnesses shown to me, your support of HEAR US, and your interest in this crazy work of mine.

I'm not much for the holidays. I guess I got burned out on piles of Barbie dolls showing up after a long day preparing for a festive shelter Christmas Eve. I get the underlying meaning, and I do celebrate the birth of goodness in our world everyday. If you're one of these hidden champions, I offer my humble thanks.

You know the meaning of this simple, profound quote by Buddha:
If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.