Antidotes to Cynicism

Antidotes to Cynicism

As I sat in the audience of an elementary school winter chorus concert on Wednesday evening, I found myself feeling intensely grateful for the gifts of the experience — lovely music, cute kids, diversity in the student body, concert length appropriate to its audience and participants. The choral selections were a satisfying mix of reverent, sweet, and highly amusing. I cried tender tears during A Song of Peace and tears of hilarity during The Reindeer Rap, in which the chorus was accompanied by a beatboxing PE teacher. (“Without us, Santa’s walkin’.”)

At the end of the 20-minute program, I breathed a sigh of relief as my body relaxed just a little bit, and I thought, “Well, that was a perfect antidote to cynicism.”

And I realized how much I need those antidotes right now. I’m quite vulnerable to the effects of cynicism as I’m confronted with the commercialism of the upcoming holiday(s), as I listen to the rhetoric of elected officials in the houses of Congress, as I ponder the seeming hopelessness of climate chaos and wonder if those in power will do anything to make a real difference.

So, the concert encouraged me to be more attentive and deliberate in noting the things that are hopeful, sweet, innocent, loving … those reminders of beauty and goodness in our world. Here are a few things I have noticed in recent weeks:

  • The elementary school principal dressed ridiculously as Buddy the Elf welcoming students to school on Tuesday morning.
  • The knowing laughter among loved ones sharing stories as they plan a wedding … and a memorial service.
  • The delicate hand-made paper ornament that a friend gifted me, which is now bringing cheer to our home.
  • Shared memories among longtime UUCC members and staff over lunch, two Thursdays in a row.
  • A spontaneous invitation (accepted!) to share conversation with a friend who’s been distant.
  • Mug cake. Baked independently by a 9-year-old.
  • The anticipation of shared worship experiences over the next few days, which will be a variety of chaotic and touching and beautiful. (Beginning with Friday’s Homeless Persons’ Memorial Service, then Sunday’s pageant, then Tuesday’s Candlelight & Carols for Christmas Eve.)

What antidotes to cynicism are you appreciating during this season? May there be many, and may this be a time of deep warmth and meaning for you and your loved ones.



  1. Genevieve Speier

    I‘be been struggling to write my annual holiday letter. I may borrow your sentiments so beautifully expressed here. Love, Genevieve

  2. Phyllis Jovich

    Cynicism makes one’s heart heavy which doesn’t seem quite right for the season. My heart is trying to lose this weight even as I eat more cookies. Having read your comments I will now look for the antidotes in my life. Thanks.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *