A Solstice Message from Dr. Ben

Medical Volunteer Opportunities Abroad

A beautiful sunrise at our base before departing for a multi-day clinic

For most modern urban folks, weather plays a minimal role. Sure, if it’s raining you might cancel taking your child to the park, but it takes pretty severe weather to stop most people going to work, going out to dinner, or doing most of the other activities that we have on our calendars.

But this is actually a pretty recent phenomenon. For most of history, and for large portions of the human population today, weather stills greatly impacts not just day-to-day activities but survival. Its importance is still felt in our traditional marking of events like the solstice, when the days stop getting shorter and as winter begins to really dig in, we mark the return of the sun and our faith that the icy cold season of hardship will eventually end—our celebration that there is (sun)light at the end of the long dark tunnel of winter, and that there will be a rebirth of life and warmth if we can just hold fast until spring.

For thousands of years, folks around the world have coped with the long dark by taking stock of our year and celebrating the things that make us strong: family, friends, hope, faith in the future, faith in humanity, and determination to survive the winter.

I would say we have had two years of winter so far, a long dark COVID Winter. We never really know exactly when spring will come. Sometimes it comes early, sometimes late. But though the winter of our COVID discontent continues to grind us under its cruel heel, Spring always comes eventually. No winter last forever.

So this solstice I remind myself that this too shall pass. Ancient peoples thought belief was important to ensure that seasons would change and spring would return. And I agree with them. It is our belief in the possibility of a better world tomorrow, our belief in Spring, that motivates our actions today to endure and to manifest that better world.

Today I look at the rising sun and I believe. Spring will come—not because we sacrifice our finest calf, but because so many people share this belief and work every day to end the COVID winter and bring back the sun. Every little compassion and kindness and service brings us one day closer.

And why not? After all, the sunrise has never failed us yet.