Dear Supporters of Hope Has a Cold Nose,
So very thankful, incredibly grateful, unbelievably blessed – Unknown
Though November in the United States is synonymous with being thankful, I struggled in that dance of opposites to start out with this quote. On one hand, it felt most appropriate to express gratitude for the stories I continue to have the privilege of listening to and writing. And, to express gratitude for the inspirational leaders I am crossing paths with who are tirelessly – and sometimes tiredly – striving to support veterans and canines who need hope. On the other hand, knowing that so many struggles in their pain, trauma, sorrow, and despair to feel thankful or blessed, I also felt a twinge of disrespect to feel gratitude when many feel hopeless.
In the way that one such inspirational leader communicated with immense gratitude and pride – and fierce determination to increase the number – we are saving lives; we have saved 110 lives!, I was reminded of Brene’ Brown’s Netflix documentary Call to Courage. Brene’ talks about what individuals express in their interviews who have known profound loss due to genocide or mass shootings. These individuals who have known profound loss, such as their children, ask that others do no avoid sharing stories with them about their own children who still live. To withhold stories for fear of deepening the sorrow of these individuals is to minimize giving purpose to such horrific tragedy. By sharing stories, it communicates that people are appreciating every precious moment with, and every precious aspect about, their children. They are not taking for granted the gifts of life they can still raise.
So with that, this month I express how thankful, grateful, and blessed I am that my path continues to intersect with such inspirational leaders – both the story-tellers you will find in Hope Has a Cold Nose and in the individuals who are focusing on building the new. The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new – Socrates
Like a magnet, what we focus on, we attract. We need to be aware, for it is the awareness that calls us to action and asks us to courageously step onto the path that is our purpose, our purpose to create for something – or some ones – greater than us. The storytellers who courageously served because they felt called to something greater than each of them are now aware of the urgent need to continue to serve their comrades whose will to fight has been depleted by the crushing weight of pain, trauma, sorrow, and despair. They are bravely sharing their stories of hope. The founders of organizations who are putting their whole being into providing alternative healing modalities such as service dogs are aware of the urgent need to save lives, to reduce twenty-two to zero.
And yet, what these inspiring leaders are also doing is turning their full attention towards creating the new. They are keeping their hearts open to the awareness of the critical need, and they are putting their full energy into attracting the resources and support needed to provide the service dogs and the training to veterans. I can only imagine the times they feel impatient or when they wear the gravity of the news that the needle is not changing from twenty-two. I can only imagine for I know the times I feel that I should be taking faster steps to do my part or my sadness when I learn that yet again the will to be free of pain came at the cost of continuing to live. I am thankful for the storytellers and leaders who inspire me through their unwavering ever vigilant focus on saving live and giving hope. Those who remove mountains begin by carrying away small stones – Chinese Proverb
One step at a time.
For something greater than us…
Over the past couple of days two people very dear to my life communicated their hearts to me when they each expressed the wish to give to an organization serving veterans in place of Thanksgiving table center pieces and Christmas gifts. As we knock on the season of giving, these two individuals remind me that the most lasting gifts are not materially placed in a box to be wrapped in pretty paper and adorned with equally beautiful bows. The most lasting gifts are gifts from the heart.
To give for something greater than us.
That what will be unwrapped is…
For twenty-two lives a day
And for more who are fighting with all their will not to become one of twenty-two.
In previous monthly updates I have featured organizations I have been blessed to meet on the journey of completing Hope Has a Cold Nose. If, like me, your heart is whispering to forego beautifully wrapped packages, please consider giving your ripple of hope to one of these below:
In addition, feel free to share this email and encourage others to subscribe to updates regarding the progress of Hope Has a Cold Nose to its published state by visiting either link below. If you know of someone that would like to share their story for Hope Has a Cold Nose, please have them contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.