The resilience of the human spirit never wanes but increasingly glows with an effulgent light. As long as there is a day, a tomorrow, a future, we will face it and do so with inexhaustible ardor.

Life pushes us in many directions, asks us to make sacrifices, it gives as much as it takes, but it continues to give as long as we have the one most precious gift of all, life. Though some shoes are more worn and weathered, lacking luster and polish, making the walk painful, difficult, and a humbling experience, still the triumph is that those of us walking in these shoes, continue to walk until their soles are scraped raw and their bare feet are calloused.

In their honor, we stand with gratitude for their sacrifice, for bearing the burdens of life that sometimes is unfathomable, and we extend a conscious mind with a helping hand to show them that they are not alone; that we stride together in times of difficulty and celebrate in times of joy; that their footprint continues to impress our minds long after they walk out of sight and we will cherish this memory of once walking together.

This is what the holidays mean to me. When I see the greatest in need with tattered clothing and a tarnished visage making an effort to smile despite their circumstances, standing with brittle shaking legs, and grasping their own shoulders to conserve warmth that rapidly escapes them. If they continue to stand, what can possibly knock me down and defeat my spirit?

When everything is taken away from you, even the cloth off your backs rendering you bare against the elements, the instinct is to curl up into a fetal position to cover yourself…until a kind stranger walks by with a blanket, lifts you up to your feet, and wraps you with the warmth of love. Every day reminds me to be that stranger, and especially the holidays when the disparity of joy and neglectful sadness are at their greatest. But I can be better at this…I can always be better…and so I strive to be.

I don’t need to compare myself with others and use that to modulate my sense of kindness. As long as I give until the point that I myself have the same needs, then I can never stray too far away from love, because the intimacy of the experience will always humbly remind me that, I too, am human; I am a part of this beautiful panorama called existence and my life is a spectacular speck of light on this unending reel.