Hope Heals All

“Embrace oneness by seeing yourself in everyone you encounter.

When we open ourselves to truth we are liberated!”

Grandmother Pa’Ris’Ha

“Devote today to something so daring even you can’t believe your doing it”

Oprah Winfrey

“With transparency comes a degree of freedom unfathomable to those still trapped in secrecy.”

Ron Mayer

Hope can heal all.

I was just finishing lunch at home and I had 20 minutes to get back to school to catch my 1:00 o’clock afternoon math class.

“Mom, I gota go or I’ll be late”, a said as I pushed my half eaten sandwich away from me.

“But you haven’t finished”, she said to my back as I grabbed an apple from the fruit basket.

“I’m not very hungry right now. I’ll eat this later.”

I paused on the porch to take in the moment. The clouds were coming in fast and dark and ominous. As I looked out onto our back yard, I could hear the sound of the wind as it blew through the trees and the trees began to sing. I could smell the coming rain that came heavy through the screen door. I had always felt refuge in arms of nature.

Reluctantly breaking my melancholy moment, I pulled my coat tighter around me and uttered a sigh as I stepped off the porch and headed off to school.

I was deep in thought about the bullying, name calling and physical abuse I had just received the day before from Harold Borkowski (not his real name). This one was the most painful episode yet. I could still feel my heart blistering from that humiliating attack. “At least you can’t see the bruises” I thought to myself. Harold could make ‘Deliverance’ look like a back yard picnic.

All through that last year in high school, I had endured constant taunting and jeering from many of my piers about my preferred persuasion. Even the teachers, on the rare occasion where they did witnessed the bullying, would always manage to turn a blind eye and let it slide. There was no word for it back then, which made it all the more frightening because there was no one I could talk to intelligently about it, so I shamefully buried it as best I could. I suddenly felt a flash of rage that I should even be made to feeling shame, oblivious to the deep scaring it was leaving inside.

This was the last month before my graduation. If I could only just get through these last few weeks, summer would be here and I could spend it quietly and anonymously at our cottage. Summer there was always good and yet I could hardly wait for the fall when I could finally get out of this town and head off to college where no one would know me. I would start off fresh.

I could only hope that the world outside this town would be infinitely kinder…

The lightning flashed and a moment later followed it with a clap of thunder. I picked up my pace.

Steps leading to school.

Steps leading to school.

There was a set of 9 flights of stairs that lead down into the “pit” where our high school was built. As I began my decent I noticed a lone figure sitting at the very bottom. I was only a few steps away, when I noticed that it was Harold Borkowski. He was hunched over, his face in his hands and his shoulders were heaving up and down obviously in distress.

What I did next surprised me. Normally, most people who had endured so much paid from someone like Harold would have simply walk right past him and not say a word. However, my empathic nature instantly had me feeling his pain and as I approached, I sat down next to him on the bottom step. I paused a moment then gently asked him, “Are you ok? Is there anything I can do to help?”

In that instant a look of shock and bewilderment came flooding into his eyes. I could tell he was thinking that I was the last person in the world that he would have expected sympathy from, especially after the way he had been treating me.

His eyes were cold as steel as he challenged my sincerity. My gaze never faltered. A moment later the hardness in his eyes turned to puzzlement and as he turned away, he sighed, “No, there’s nothing anyone can do.”

“I’m sorry,” I said. Moments passed as we both stared straight head sitting next to each other in silence.

“I’ll just leave you be then” and I got up and continued on down the path towards the school.

I was shaking inside. I could not believe what I had just done. It felt wonderful! I was free. Through that sudden unexpected act of compassion, I had gained back my personal power and restored some of that self respect that had been slowly eroding over the last painful year.

You know I believe just that one small act of kindness changed Harold. For in that final month before graduation he never once bullied me again. Yes, perhaps something in him had changed. More importantly, I saw my whole world change in that moment as I demonstrated to myself a capacity to love that seemed well beyond my years. In that moment I realized that with transparency comes a degree of freedom unfathomable to those still trapped in secrecy.

Later, Grandmother would come to refer to these elevating moments in ones life as “Nuwati”.  A Cherokee word which has many meanings: “the Medicine Way,” “one of being as God is,” “universal power and connectedness,” “One with the All,” “the chosen and gifted”. All of these meanings describe what “Nuwati” is; however, I have come to simply understand it as “Love in action”.

Even then, before I had ever met Grandmother, I knew that there was something very different about me. Something most people could not quite understand. This difference would now set me on a path of destiny most could not even fathom.

That summer was one of the best summers that I can recall. And even as it ended and I began to prepare to leave home for college, I remembered thinking, “Even if the world outside my town ends up being just as hate-filled towards me as these last few years have been, at least I now know I will survive.”

Hope was still alive.

Song sung by: Idina Menzel


This is a story of a bird with no wings.

It’s certain that it can fly.

Sailing on love, into the headwinds.

Forcing it’s way by-and-by.

If only we were as strong as this bird

Our spirit would never die.

What do we name it?

Hope is the right word.

Hope is the bravest most beautiful bird in the sky.

Hope is a bird that flys higher than others.

And keeps all our dreams alive.

Free of all doubt, perfectly fearless.

Fed by it’s will to survive.

Imagine ourselves becoming this bird

We can when we dare to try.

See ourselves flying, over the mountain.

Hope is the bravest most beautiful bird in the sky.

Only hope can light the way.

Only hope can heal the heart.

Only hope can keep the clouds from hiding the moon & the stars.

If only we were as strong as this bird.

Our spirit would never die.

What do we call it? Only one word.

Hope is the bravest most beautiful  bird.

Hope is the bravest most beautiful bird in the sky.

Only hope can light the way.

Only hope can heal the heart.

Only hope can keep the clouds from hiding the moon & the stars.

This was the story of a bird without wings.

And rose above everything.

Never once giving up.