Human greatness does not lie in wealth or power, but in character and goodness. People are just people, and all people have faults and shortcomings, but all of us are born with a basic goodness — Anne Frank
I often found myself standing in admiration, respect and simply in awe of my fellow searchers and other volunteers doing all they could to bring Kaden home. I would speak in loud praises of their leadership, accomplishment and unswerving dedication to the sacred cause and task at hand. Yet when they bestowed similar compliments upon me I would shyly play down my limited role. And so too did mostly everyone else upon hearing their accolades spoken and proclaimed.
On Saturday May 5th, the best possible result of that “sacred cause and task at hand” was completed – a community memorial service took place in Orangeville Ontario for Kaden – the forevermore 3-year old. A private funeral was held several days earlier. Out there in the rugged and dense woods where over two months ago these were violently flooded lands from the overflowing Grand River that claimed Kaden’s young life, we often talked and hoped that this precious soul could be found and returned home to his family – and we could then attend such a gathering. We finally did. We finally did.
A soulful minister took the podium, and she asked all the searchers present in that church of hundreds to rise and stand up. I proudly and slowly rose up from my seat and stood with the others and looked around at them all. Before the minister was done extolling all those present who did their part big or small, the entire sanctuary was on their feet. It was an exquisite site to behold.
The family shared for us at the service a video montage of Kaden. For most present in that church, we never previously knew Kaden or his family and this video presentation was our sole opportunity to see this beautiful young boy in action. And he was full of action. I especially loved seeing him play in the water park – just like any 3-year old would. The video hit us hard. That stark realization was so painfully evident for all to see, that in an instant, a life can be gone – any life. We are all susceptible to that. Who didn’t go home from church that morning and hug their loved ones a bit tighter and tell people we loved them when normally we mightn’t have?
Later that evening, during a get-together for the volunteers, I was outside speaking to one of the young women who I met on the search. She was admiring all those who had assembled. She said, “They are awesome”. Finally, it hit me – WE ARE AWESOME – I said to her.
Over the past few days I have come to learn more about the reasons why some people came out in the search for Kaden. They shared some deeply personal and touching stories that moved me to tears each time. Know that you are awesome.
But why at times do we allow the good things we do to be overshadowed by our human failings? I know that we don’t always do “good things” all the time – me included for sure. We can often be so bloody self-critical and we beat ourselves up – and I am not sure why. Everyone is awesome but we are not perfect, we make mistakes.
My wish is that we face our daily life with the knowledge and acknowledgement that we are awesome though we might still encounter moments of self-doubt. Nonetheless we are awesome and we strive to be awesome even during those difficult moments. I think we proved that to ourselves in the search for Kaden.
Recognize your own greatness in your life. Be proud of your accomplishments – especially what you did in searching for Kaden. It is okay to do so, and it is a great step towards self-love – something we could all use a bit more of from time to time.
YOU are awesome – WE are awesome.
Oh, and I had a reason or two as well … We all did!