One common challenge we each face is to find spiritual and mental sanctuary within extraordinarily chaotic times — to find, within the rough seas, our own calm haven that can replenish the soul and allow us to look forward with hopeful anticipation.
Frequently, the journey to safe harbor seems to require leaving where we live or foregoing who we are to find something better. We are, in fact, in search of an ideal.
The fictitious towns often found in heartwarming movies and novels, engagingly embodies one type of sanctuary — a small village that celebrates the oddities and benign mayhem of everyday life with positive humor and a strong undying faith that all will work out. It is the familiar neighborhood in which we escape from profoundly complex issues to find good people, a steel moral fabric, and a better self.
These idyllic towns are as much a compelling state of mind as they are quaint geographic locations. If there is any solace for those of us who don’t live in such places, it lies in the fact that we can look inward and find those same rolling pastures an tree — lined main streets that are walked by our own cherished friends and close family. Therein is an amazing grace of life: the ideal exists within each of us — it is not a destination but, instead, a vantage point.
President Reagan says “I know in my heart that man is good. That what is right will always eventually triumph. And there is a purpose and worth to each and every life.” Continuing that same thread, if we live honestly, courageously and meaningfully, then our positive sense of self and others, our purpose and beliefs become our own port in the storm. That is the vantage point found in the ideal town.
And that same vantage point also serves as both anchor and compass as we try to better understand our lives in context to our family, friends and society. It supports us as we tentatively consider venturing into new waters and strengthens us as we reweave the fabrics that we are given and decide to keep.
One of the greatest gifts and most sobering responsibilities endowed upon us is to select the underlying assumptions and framework of our lives — to define our own vantage point. It not only perfectly reflects who we are as individuals but also projects what we can be as a community and as a country. So, if we have steadfast belief, if we maintain an uncompromised faith in ourselves as well as our fellow man, we no longer need to search for the ideal town, for it is here within each of us, and is where our innate goodness and human spirit will ultimately shine forth.