Some thoughts on gratitude, resilience, faith, gifts, and “Seeing that of God in everyone” – Chester McCoy

Chester McCoy was the planned speaker at semi-programmed worship on December 30, 2012.

Some thoughts on gratitude, resilience, faith, gifts, and “Seeing that of God in everyone.”

“Mother to Son”

By Langston Hughes

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
Bare.
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

Langston Hughes, “Mother to Son” from Collected Poems (Vintage Books, 1994)

My mother read this poem to Nancy and me at our wedding 35 years ago. I chose it for its message of resiliency. Among the many things I learned from my mother, Bernice McCoy, was how to be resilient in spite of difficulties.

When I faced difficult times in my youth, I would think of the hardships of my ancestors and the difficulties they encountered to provide me with the opportunity to enjoy a better day.

The opening hymn reminds me that we all have gifts to share with others. “I will hold your people in my heart.” In sharing our gifts with others, we build community; a community that has traditions and is ever-evolving; a community of trust, love, and faith.

The quote from Anne Franke, “I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are really good at heart,” reminds me to look for the good in others. This is not to suggest I never become angry or resentful. I do. However, I do not make it a part of my core belief. “I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are really good at heart.”

I am grateful for my family, my extended family, my multiple communities, and Minneapolis Friends Meeting.