March is here. The third month of the year. A time when New Year’s resolutions may be coming into fruition, or have been discarded altogether. This is the month when we realize time flies, and that 2013 is coming into full swing. Warm weather slowly makes its return; the flowers are blooming. March is the month of Caesar’s fateful Ides, metaphors of lions and lambs, and of course, St. Patrick’s Day. While traditions vary, there are certain hallmarks of the day that come to mind. Reveling with friends, grand parades, the donning of green and the annual return of the McDonald’s shamrock shake. Ah, shamrocks. A typical shamrock, or clover as we know it, has three leaves. Once in a blue moon we stumble upon the four leaf clover, an uncommon variation. A four leaf clover is thought to bring luck to it’s finder. Approximately 1 in 10,000 clovers have four leaves, so it is indeed very rare.
I can remember about a year ago, I got in my car and drove to a park to clear my head. I went for a walk and encountered a patch of grass filled with clovers. At the time, I was going through a rough period in my life. I had just experienced the death of a loved one and felt anxiety, anger and a loss of personal faith. I decided to look through the clovers and see if I could find one with four leaves. I so desperately needed something good in my life. I asked the universe to please send me a four leaf clover, a sign of hope, faith, love and luck. I needed a message that things would get better and my heart would heal. I looked up to the sky and begged for that mystical moment. I then bent down and sifted through the clovers. I spent half an hour. People were looking at me, probably wondering what an adult woman was doing searching through the grass alone. Finally, I gave up and headed towards my car. I felt dejected. I didn’t know why I had put so much stock into something so precious and seemingly unobtainable. Before I got into my car, I decided to sift through the grass one last time. Suddenly, there it was! I couldn’t believe it–a lone four leaf clover. Tears came into my eyes. Could this possibly be a sign that things were going to get better, or was it merely a random coincidence?
I reminded myself then and there that life is all about perception. I could choose to perceive the finding of the clover as an insignificant fluke, or I could take it as a symbol that my luck was about to change and the pain I was going through would lessen. I chose the latter. Finding that clover did not make things magically get better; I wish I could say that was true. I still had anxiety and pain in my heart. However, I chose to focus on the one good thing I was confident I had, especially on that day. That was hope. The fact that I even bothered to look for something so rare, that was such a long shot, meant that I still had hope. Hope is everything. Those that have and maintain hope in their hearts despite overwhelming adversity, those are truly the “lucky” ones.
So this March–and always–I implore you to hold onto your hope. Life will always get challenging and then it will get easier, only to become challenging once again. This is the cycle. This is what makes life interesting and real and human and worthwhile. Hold onto and celebrate your hope. Be kind to yourself. So what if you didn’t keep those resolutions? You will make new ones. Maybe you’ll find your own four leaf clover when you least expect it. Maybe it will bring you luck, maybe it won’t. But never stop looking; the best we can do for ourselves is to keep the bloom of hope close.
-Erica Hoag, STW Volunteer
© Serve the Warrior 2013 All Rights Reserved
Editor – Pamela Haber