Maybe it was the day after Christmas let down. Maybe I’m just exhausted. Or maybe, I thought, it was something deeper. But for whatever reason, I was crying. I was reading an article on the sports page of the New York Times – and crying. Really?
The article was about the Navy football player, Bennett Moehring, the kicker, who had the chance to win the big game against Army in the last seconds of the big game …and missed it. It focused not on that loss, but what how he handled it. He said in a post-game interview, “I’ll use this as motivation. I’ll get better. It’s the only option.” The article focused his leadership skills and how he is using this to be a person who others would want to follow.
The tears welled up at that one.
But they really started to fall as the article went on to talk about all the kind words and encouragement he had gotten from strangers. From people on the street or in a Starbucks, to other players and fans who reached out to him to let him know they knew he had done his best and were behind him, regardless of the outcome.
That’s what got to me: The kindness of strangers.
These days we are bombarded by messages of fear and hate and ugliness. Our world can be a scary place. But an article like this reminds me that underneath all that bluster, there is good.
Years ago, I had a meditation where I envisioned a baby, aglow with loving energy and light. As the child grew and became indoctrinated into the world, it grew layers, like armor. Experiences and lessons would keep adding these layers until one day, as an adult, it’s light barely shown through it all. And yet, the child/adult was yearning for the light and was attracted to others whose light shone brightly. The child/adult kept chasing it, looking for it outside of itself and not realizing it was there inside, under that thick protective shell.
It is during the darkest time of year that our stories of light shine through: the Hanukkah story, the birth of Christ. There is no coincidence in their timing. And in this literal and figuratively dark period, it is stories of love and human kindness that shine through for me.
My New Year’s wish is to let my light shine, to be a light to others and to help guide them back to finding their own innate radiance. Imagine if that happened. No, imagine WHEN that happens. Just like the field goal kicker – don’t just try, do.