Beloved Buddhist teacher Ticht Nacht Han did not shout. Yet few have been so widely heard.
When he met with Dr. King, he conveyed the injustice of war.
When he met with Oprah, he described how he meditated not just every day, but every moment.
When he met with Google executives, he told them we do not need so much information.
These three conversations alone spanned five decades.
Each timely. Each timeless.
Dear ones, may we all have teachers who demonstrate the courage beyond loudness, the truth beyond newsfeeds, the love beyond infatuation, the wisdom beyond cleverness.
May we root in the richness of life,
Years ago, a new acquaintance was describing a small, thoughtless slight from some other friends. Rather than insisting it was no big deal, or going on and on about it in an outrage, she summarized by saying with complete equanimity, “I cherish my friends. And I expect to be cherished in return.”
Oh, what a revelatory, grown-up reflection! It has echoed with me ever since.
Dear ones, let us cherish one another’s hopes.
Let us be kind to one another’s dreams.
Let us be cherished in return.
Amidst all of the reflections about the extraordinary life and service of Archbishop Desmond Tutu (like this one from the terrific OnBeing), it’s Mary Robinson’s recollection of this quote that struck me the most.
Not an optimist, and not merely hopeful.
A prisoner of hope.
Dear ones, in a cynical world with such obvious challenges, it can feel foolish to be hopeful. But the kind of hope Archbishop Tutu had is not a fluffy cotton candy version. It is a deep-rooted conviction that the world is worthy of our devotion, and that we are worthy of its bounty, even when – especially when – neither of those is evident.
In the middle of all the heartaches and bruises and trauma, we have a baby’s first steps, or the first daffodil in spring, or this scene of Schitt’s Creek. We have new people and new movements and new inventions. We have Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and Alexander Calder’s sculptures and Dolly Parton’s songs. We have pine trees and rainbow trout and and granite boulders. We have the laughter of an Archbishop who has witnessed more violence and adversity and injustice than most of us can even imagine.
We have possibility.
We have hope.
A clip of Archbishop Tutu with Mary Robinson can be found below, along with our winter book list. In an earlier post we explored a complementary view of hope from Vaclav Havel.
Dear friends, I could not read the just-released New Day’s Lyric from Amanda Gorman aloud without tearing up, so I know this is the best offering I can share with you this morning. And to extend the sharing, our new winter book list is linked at the end.
May this shiny new year bring greater ease and joy to all.
Two bonus items to mark the new year:
PDF link: Honeybee book list – winter 2022
View in our library: https://
One of Honeybee’s most popular posts of all time, the New Year’s Flip – already (unbelievably) coming up on 10 years old.
If you are similarly moved, please join me in making a donation to the International Rescue Committee in Gorman’s honor, in alignment with her intentions.
Every season brings its own traditions, its own rituals. Whether church services or cinnamon buns or morning runs, the power of repetition and reflection runs deep.
Even when all details seem to have changed – places, substance, and people – rituals both big and small can offer us comfort and connection. A single candle lit against the darkness reflects all of the sparks of light across all of our communities. A tray of homemade cookies brings flashbacks to our parents’ and grandparents’ kitchens. A walk by one icy creek reminds us of others, thousands of miles away.
Dear ones, our traditions are never as settled as they seem. Some years bring bounty, and some are lean; some gather loved ones from far and near, and some offer micro-celebrations; some invite rich looks back in time and others ask us to focus on the horizon.
Whatever the conditions, we can choose what we keep. We can keep the meaning that’s most vital to our lives. We can keep the relationships that nourish our souls. We can keep the spirit of our traditions, even as the circumstances shift.
Here’s to the rooting of the old,
and the rhyming of the new.