Winter has ended, Spring has arrived. And with Spring, a variety of flowers (and pollen) are popping up. It is a beautiful and hopeful time of year. At Robin’s Hope a recent group focused on planting seeds and thinking about our hopes for a brighter future. This activity has made think more deeply about resilience, hope, and new growth.
Personally, this past year has been very challenging. In launching a new nonprofit program, I have found myself challenged in ways both expected and unexpected. I am learning something new every day and yet feel that I still have vastly more to learn before feeling that I am capable of doing the things that are needed to keep a fledgling program alive and growing. There are days that it all seems so overwhelming and days when I struggle to keep my head above water. And yet, at the end of every day, I am able to reflect on the impact that Robin’s Hope has on those who attend and I am able to say without hesitation that there is nothing I would rather be doing than giving all I have to help others find their path through their pain into a brighter future.
I see my journey with launching Robin’s Hope as a parallel to the journey Robin’s Hope seeks to facilitate for others. I started with a vision and a hope for something better, but initially felt inadequate and too small to take on the task. I met Heather, who shared my vision and was willing to partner with me in the journey bringing everything she had to the task. We reached out and found others willing to give and help and found support from our families. We still struggle, we still have days when we feel too small, the challenges too great, but we are there to support each other and hold on to the hope that more people will join us and that the task will become more manageable with more hands to help. Likewise, Robin’s Hope seeks to be a place where people who are hurting and feeling alone and too small to face their pain can come and can join with others to find support. Our hope is that together, many hands will help the burden feel more manageable and that people will find a new hope for a brighter future.
The main focus of Robin’s Hope is in building resilience skills. Resilience is “bouncing back,” the ability to retain one’s original shape despite stress being applied. I think of the blade of grass bending as the wind blows, but lifting back up when the wind passes. I think of trees that shed their leaves to survive the winter storms, but regrow with the warmth of spring. I think of the robin, which migrates to warmer climates when the weather gets bad, but returns with its same mate to its same nest with Spring. Traumatic events of any kind can leave me feeling broken, yet resilience is a skill that can be taught. I can learn to flex with the challenges life brings, I can learn to come back from things that leave me feeling defeated, I can learn to find ways to honor my pain and reach for a brighter future.
It is hard to believe in a dream when you are alone and feel inadequate to the task. Together, though, dreams become more attainable. The skills and gifts of each person become combined to create possibilities that are bigger than the sum of the parts. Likewise, when healing takes place in community, the experiences and perspectives of each member of the group add a richness and uniqueness that would not exist without each individual. The healing that is experienced becomes greater than the skills taught or the sum of the comments made. Lives are changed, wounds are healed, strengths emerge, and together we celebrate.
As Robin’s Hope prepares to enter its second year of existence, I want to thank everyone who has participated in making the program a success. This began as a dream in my heart 20 years ago, Heather and I worked for the past several years to bring it to life, and Leah graciously joined us in the journey to make it reality. We would not have been able to get things moving without the support of those that courageously came to the groups, and then came back for more. We are beyond grateful for those that have supported us financially, those that volunteer their time, those that spread the word, and those that keep an interested ear open. You are all members of a team that is growing something that is desperately needed, and so much bigger than the sum of its parts.
As we look forward into the second year of Robin’s Hope, I am hopeful that we will continue to add groups, volunteers, financial partners, and participants. I am looking forward to celebrating with others the growth that comes with healing, to seeing people blossom and utilize their strengths and gifts in new ways, and to growing a “family” of support that struggles together through hard times and has fun together in the good times. May this next year bring resilience, hope, and new growth!