We were humbled to receive the following poem from a long time member of our Forum Family, someone who attended our Annual Hartford Children's Holiday Party for the first time this year and was deeply moved by the experience.
This poem is his gift to us - all of us - and a wonderful reminder about the real meaning of the holiday season. Enjoy!
For reasons best not expressed
This season had found me quite depressed
Until, that is, when I was invited
To an event for which I was not excited.
A group whose work I have adored
(I sit on their advisory board)
For 18 years has held a fete,
A holiday event for children set
In a ballroom, grand and cavernous
Where, erstwhile, men quite ravenous
Had sat dining, whining of things financial
Thinking their work was so substantial.
But now that room with lofty ceiling
Was filled a brim with holiday feeling,
The sound of unfettered joy,
The jingling of a jangling toy,
Tables set with crafts to bring forth glee
For children of all sorts to see.
Volunteers from here and there
Had taken time enough to care
To put aside their own lives’ burdens
Bringing joy unto these young ones
Whose lives, I regret to say,
Are ones that, day to day,
Cause them their laughs to suppress,
To find a way to do with less
Than others of their tender years
For many exist in homes of fear
And those who come are but a few
Of the many others deserving too.
Who have been invited here for lunch,
Tall, short and of varied hew
Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Jew
All together, laughing, sharing
No one at the other staring
All accepting of each other
Treating each like sister, brother,
Squealing at the man on stilts,
Running round the room full tilt,
Filling up the room with magic,
Unaware their lives are tragic,
Giggling at the silly clown,
As the clock goes running down.
Soon their fun would have to end
And back to their homes we’d have to send
Them having had a moment’s bliss
That otherwise they would have missed
But for the work of volunteer
Who came to share a bit of cheer.
I don’t know if they’ll remember
This day of fun in mid-December.
But I am sure to cherish dearly
That which I approached so wearily
When their laughter, like a dart,
Did vanquish the grayness in my heart.
It’s amazing how a child’s sweet face
Can one’s anchored sorrow quick displace.
And, afterwards, it struck me -
Is it not an irony,
That bringing joy unto a child
And by their smile become beguiled
Into a sense of love for others
Treating each like sisters, brothers
Whether thin, fat, short or tall
Is the meaning of this season
So to you my colleagues and my friends,
Regardless of what life intends,
I wish much joy and happiness;
Indeed, I wish you childlike bliss.
To find it you need only bend
And to a child your blessings send.
YOURS, ALWAYS, JR