There is a lovely little segment on public radio right now called, “Words that Speak to Us,” where listeners call in and share their experience of some words (from a poem, story, song, or simply a saying they heard from a beloved parent or friend) that they turn to for guidance or inspiration in their daily lives.

Recently, I came across such words in a quote by Emerson:

 “In the muck and scum of things,
There always always something sings.”

Sometimes, my Irish roots, tempt me into dwelling too long on the darker side of life.  After all, “to be Irish is to know that in the end, the world will break your heart.”

But on dreary days and long nights, Emerson’s words remind me that simmering beneath the sad surfaces of our lives, are chinks of hope and glimpses of beauty, be it in a friend’s voice, a lover’s smile, a child’s giggle, the dog’s wag-a-tail welcome, or… a great children’s book!

The two most important ingredients of a child’s book, according to Yolen, are HOPE and JOY.  And the book that I turn to again and again to banish fear and restore joy is, of course….

It is the story of a little girl who meets a fairy at Halloween.  Although they both try and live in each other’s land, they realize that it is impossible, because they will always miss their own land.  So, they exchange gifts that will allow them, at least to visit one another in their different lands, and remain friends for a long time….


It ends with a rousing admonition that if one night you see a fairy ring, “BE BOLD, BE BRAVE, BE UNAFRAID, and join that fairy ring!”

Ah so you see …beneath the “muck and scum of things” – of having to endure separation from loved ones, of not getting what you want in this life, there is consolation – a friendship that endures time and space and even leads to bravery and boldness, and…even….

believing in what you cannot yet see…

  but might….one day!  

Let HOPE brim!