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“Bird’s Eye View” an original photograph taken by Heather J. Wakefield of the Caucasus Mountains in Georgia (the country).
resilience
On Gratitude, Growth, Strength and Solidarity
As part of the “Beauty in a Broken World” series, Harvard Divinity School student Heather Wakefield shares four original poems that reflect on gratitude, growth, strength and solidarity during the pandemic.

To Those on the Front Lines

By Heather J. Wakefield

We see you risking your health, 
risking your lives to make a difference
and you do make a difference
even if you don't always see it. 

You show up 
knowing you will face impossible situations, 
knowing the heartbreak and pain that await you. 

You are there 
and your presence, 
your existence gives us hope. 

No one can do it all. 
You, 
we, 
are all human
but when we all do the best we can, 
we stand a fighting chance. 

It may be cliché but it's true. 
We are stronger together than we are apart. 

All of you working together, 
doctors, 
nurses, 
interns, 
and other medical personnel, 
cleaning staff, 
security, 
and all other supporting members of the team, 
you are all vital to the whole. 

Know that we see you, 
that we care about you 
and you amaze and inspire us 
with your selfless courage and determination 
and we say 
thank you.

 

The Learning Tree

By Heather J. Wakefield

Barren broken branches 
reaching for the sky, 
dead tree of beauty 
bringing life stark hope. 

Awesome, 
sturdy in its decline, 
massive wooden base with myriad leafless fingers 
seeking God. 

It stands solid now 
despite eminent decay, 
stretching up and wearing down
God's plan, 
life renewed, 
ending still reborn, 
nourishing life to come. 

Barren broken branches
reaching for the sky.

 

Enough

By Heather J. Wakefield

You are enough.
In a time of scarcity
of making due
with not enough equipment,
no enough time,
not enough support,
know
that you are enough.
What you do makes a difference
Even if you can’t see it.

You show up.
You care
even though it breaks your heart.
That is the most anyone can do.

So, in those dark, exhausted moments,
when fear and doubt
threaten,
Stop.
Breathe.
Cry if you need to.
Cry if you can.
Release the fears and self-doubts
That weigh you down.

Then, feel the love that surrounds you,
the love of the Divine,
the love of humanity,
the love of millions of us who
recognize that you are in impossible situations.
We lack the skills to join you on the front lines,
but we are trying hard to do our part
to ease your burden.
We do the best we can.

And that is our collective hope.
Every act of kindness,
every effort on another’s behalf
makes a difference.
Together,
we are enough.
You
Are
Enough.


We Stand with You 

By Heather J. Wakefield

One day,
while flitting above grand mountains and valleys,
a house finch suddenly realized how big the world is
and how miniscule he was in comparison.
Overwhelmed,
he floated down to a tree branch.

“I’m frightened” chirped the tiny finch,
feeling quite small in his high perch.
“Do not worry,” replied the oak tree.
“You are secure among my branches.
I will not let you fall.”

“But I’m so little and the world is so big.” cried the finch.
“It’s all just too much!”
“Do no worry, little bird,” rumbled the mountains.
“We are steady and strong.
You are safe living among us.” 

But the finch ruffled his feathers and shivered,
still frightened.
The tree tried again.
“Yes, I am large,
but I have lived here for many decades.
I am not going anywhere.
You may always rest among my branches.
And I am large enough for you and all your friends and family.
No matter how small you are,
you can stand strong with me.”

The finch felt a little better,
but he still trembled slightly.

The mountains spoke again,
“We have been here thousands of years.
And we will remain for thousands more.
We provide beauty and shelter for plant and animal alike.
Know that we are here for you
and nothing can overwhelm us.
No matter how small you are,
you can stand strong with us.”

The reassurances worked 
and the little finch no longer felt afraid.
Drawing on the strength of the tree and the mountains,
he stood strait and strong.

And then he flew.

About Heather J. Wakefield:

I have played many roles in my life, including drummer, singer, teacher, writer, librarian, leprechaun, and blue whale. (Yes, the last two were acting parts.) My background in onstage and multiple offstage aspects of theater helps me see the world through different lenses, a skill that often comes in handy. I found great fulfillment during my seven and a half year run as the director of a small, rural library in Pennsylvania. I felt great pride when patrons called my library “the friendly library” and complimented the whole staff for being welcoming and helpful. I was only shushed for being too loud by three or four patrons. Now, I am embarking on another transformation into a life of ministry. I believe I will be an irreverent reverend, but I will draw from my years of service in other capacities as I do my best in my new role. 

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