Down to the wire of course but writing this is something I not only promised but want to do. We have so much to be grateful for this year as a family and an organization.
Three things stand out to me as true gifts; finding light in darkness, finding reassurance in authenticity and remembering the foundation of family grounds the efforts of kindness, generosity and healing we work so hard to provide.
So in our journey to spread the message of the irreplaceable person we have learned one thing that has allowed us to focus on the grateful. I’ll call it the ‘Both | And’…. A phrase used by a very wise friend of mine.
Light in darkness: Life is not always what we expect, life is not always easy or planned. Life can be hard, dark and confusing. Control and perfection are illusions that leave us with unrealistic expectations. But in the darkness and disbelief of disappointment we can find the light. In fact, as an artist I often use the contrast of the darkness of a Rembrandt and point to the gentle hardly noticeable light. To be truly grateful, there has to be something to contrast the beauty to or we might not see it.
No matter how challenging the situation or the person, there is a lesson of growth. All of life’s challenges whether small or overwhelming offer us an opportunity however small to see the light. Life is both a challenge and a lesson. It is a gift we are grateful for to be able to stop, breathe and look for that light.
Authenticity and honesty: There is no substitute for a genuine and pure intentioned person. Add in some passion and those people placed in our life can renew our hope in humanity when we are down. At our toughest moments this fall with our work with You Can NOT Be Replaced; when people saddened us and took advantage of us, we found that the most amazing people stepped forward. It was a ‘Both|And’ experience again.
People can be shallow, selfish and motivated by pride. But people can also be healers, genuine, caring and real. Words cannot express the depth of gratefulness we have for the genuine people we have met through You Can NOT Be Replaced.
Family: We tell the kids we speak to when we go to schools that at our core is the impact of our very first attachments. Our first community- our family. Imperfect as they may be (there is both light and dark), the people who loved us first are forever a part of our story.
When life is challenging the worst we experienced from the dark times of family rears its ugly head. Go to any holiday table to see family members regress. But also when times are troubled the love of our families, however broken, shows up too.
As children we are reminded of our beginnings and securities when with our families. They are our safe place. As adults we are aware of the ever growing importance to keep relationships strong, simple and healthy. No matter what You Can NOT Be Replaced is challenged with, blessed with, accomplishes or encounters- our family is there loving us the best they can, while we love them with the best we have.
Our rock and safe place is our home. For the blessings of family we are truly grateful. Everything we do as an organization; the stories we tell and the lives we hope to save, come from the events and experiences of our family, our children and their friends.
Life is both dark and light
People are both challenging and authentic
Family is complex but simple
For these things were are thankful
USC’s Gratitude Campaign