The Power of Love and Hope
During this holiday time, I’ve been thinking even more about Peace on Earth and Good Will for All. But as I watch and read the news, I’m feeling a sense of cognitive discord. I’m feeling sadness.
I have a lump in my throat. I choke back tears because I’m witnessing the wounding of America. There are those who believe the pain can be healed by new laws implemented by the new federal administration. And there are those who are losing hope and faith that this country is on the right track. Arguably, in the history of this country, only the pain and anguish of the fight for independence from England, and the Civil and the Vietnam wars can compare to the social upheaval currently raging from sea to shining sea.
American society as a whole seems to have regressed back to a position of basic needs. According to Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, the categories of human needs begin with basic physiological needs, then safety needs. After these basic needs are satisfied, humans need a sense of social belonging, then self-esteem and esteem from others. Finally, there are Self-Actualization, the fulfillment of one’s potential, and finally Self-Transcendence. Self-Transcendence is achieved by devoting one’s self to a loftier goal than one’s own personal concerns. When most of us humans feel that our basic needs are threatened, the higher level of the Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs feel like an expensive luxury. The very nature of humankind is fallible and prevents us from achieving perfection.
Recently I achieved my sense of self-actualization. I’m now working on the self-transcendence piece and I know this transcendence lies in service to others. I believe in the power of love in this service. How can I fail to believe when, again and again I’ve witnessed the power of love to create miracles?
When I worked at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, a simple walk through the concourse was a lesson in the power of faith, healing and technology. Every day I walked in the door, I was awed at the courage I saw in the staff, the children, and in their parents. The spirit of compassion, courage and faith gave the staff, family and patients the ability to keep looking forward to the future. I’m forever humbled that for over five years, I had that opportunity to contribute in a very small way. I saw the miracle of love during those years, and in the years since then. I’ve known the pain of personal loss, and I’ve witnessed my country wounded to the core. However, contrary to a fear-based belief in failure, altruism will persist through the darkness of despair. One cannot truly know the light until they have seen the darkness.
So, when I watch the news every day, I also feel hope. I still believe in the integrity of the American people, and the power of decency and love that most of us still have for our fellow human beings. We Americans have a Phoenix bird-like ability to rise from the ashes. We will emerge from this darkness stronger and wiser. And because of this experience, maybe some of us will have gained a certain collective self-transcendence.
Melissa Miraglia, ©2017