Shadows Prove the Sunshine

Every new year brings with it renewed excitement, resolutions for change or improvement, and hope for the future.  Additionally, the transition to a new year brings reflection, as we look back on lessons learned from the previous year.  For me, recent life-lessons have been profound and impactful.  

img_8255

Joseph and Perrin Hall

On the day after Thanksgiving, our son Joseph lost his wife Perrin after a six and one half-year battle with kidney cancer. And while there are memories that will be etched in my heart and mind forever, I have been touched by three significant lessons that are certainly worth sharing.

First and foremost, I will carry four words and a picture of Perrin with me that will inspire, sustain and support me in life’s difficult moments.  For those of you who did not know Perrin, she maintained a level of joy in the face of adversity that was, and remains, inspirational.  She summed this sense of joy by saying that the “shadows prove the sunshine.”  I remember the first time I heard her say that; I stopped in my tracks.  Perrin was determined not to let the shadow of cancer control her outlook on life.  Rather, her life was lived to the fullest, with joy and in faith, in a way that allowed the light to dominate the shadows.  How often the most simple truth, one often overlooked, offers a life-changing perspective.

Second, I opened a letter this past week from retired Walker teacher, Mrs. Dixie Bowden, for whom “Bowden Library” is named, who shared words of comfort for those of us enduring the shadows:

In a remote region of Tibet, the farewell that someone gives another is “May there be a road.” In that land where snow slides, rock slides, and cave-ins are abundant, in that land where roads are casually made and bridges are often hung from ropes, the wish – “May there be a road” takes on new significance.  Surely we have highways, but metaphorically, life sometimes seems like Frost’s “pathless wood.”  We move blindly at times, not knowing where to go next, but the love of God and of friends and family sustains us, shields us from the pain of mudslides and collapses, and comforts us in the loss of those we love.

larry

Larry Alvin

Finally, it is, as Dixie notes, the love, support and comfort of friends and family that sustains us.  Over and over during the past six years, even as recently as this week as we mourn the loss of longtime Walker employee Larry Alvin, I have seen the Walker community reach out and carry those who are hurting.  It is, certainly, one of the most endearing attributes of the people connected to this school.  Students, parents, faculty, staff, former faculty & staff, alumni, past parents, board members, everyone in this community cares about the well-being of each person. Indeed, it is through your individual acts of kindness, in a letter, card, hug, pat on the back, or with a listening ear that the axiom comes to life – the “shadows prove the sunshine.”  

Shine on, Walker.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Head of School, Schoolwide by Jack Hall. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jack Hall

Jack Hall is the Head of School at The Walker School in Marietta, Georgia. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre at Davidson College and holds a Master of Science in Athletic Administration from Georgia State University and a Master of Arts in Education Administration from Columbia University where he was also a Klingenstein Fellow at Columbia University.

2 thoughts on “Shadows Prove the Sunshine

  1. Hi Jack – I appreciate the words you shared. Jan and I are so sorry for your loss. We did not realize you were going through that. I recall you being a little somber when we saw you right before Thanksgiving. Your heart I imagine was heavy thinking about Perrin. Condolences to your families.

  2. Related somewhat to your post, I loved Danone Swinney’s quote after Clemson won the National Championship. He said, I told my guys to let the light that was inside them shine brighter than the light that was on them and they’d be okay.” So true.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s