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By Dr. Basil Springer

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law”. – Galatians 5:22-23

As I get older, the frequency of deaths increases and regrettably the deceased are often younger than I am. I recall a year ago that the death of a friend with whom I was close for over 70 years triggered the spate of 12 deceased persons within a three-month period.

Last week, I attended the funeral of a fellow Rotarian, which was the third death of a close friend or colleague in as many weeks.

The homily at this funeral reminded me that in the face of life’s most formidable challenges, it is often the intangible qualities that reveal our resilience and guide us through the darkest of times. The human spirit, an enigmatic force that embodies our thoughts, emotions and aspirations, defies the limitations of the physical world.

Today, we delve into the profound impact the spirit has on our lives, particularly amidst the elemental forces that shape our existence: air, earth, fire and water. The indomitable nature of the human spirit and its ability to endure, inspire and transcend the realms of both good and bad are incredible.

Air, the invisible element we breathe, sustains us, giving life to our bodies. However, in the form of hurricanes, it can also unleash devastation and destruction, tearing through communities and leaving chaos in its wake. Yet, even amidst such calamity, the human spirit remains unyielding. It manifests in the courage of those who rebuild, the resilience of those who support one another, and the hope that drives communities to rise from the ashes. In times of adversity, the human spirit propels us forward, reminding us of our innate capacity to overcome and rebuild, stronger than before.

Earth, the provider of sustenance, offers us bountiful harvests and abundant resources. But earthquakes can shatter this equilibrium, toppling structures and disrupting the very foundation of our lives. Yet, when faced with such upheaval, the human spirit finds solace in the bonds of solidarity. It unites communities, fostering a collective strength that helps rebuild shattered lives and reestablish a sense of normalcy. The spirit of resilience shines brightest when we come together, supporting one another with unwavering determination.

Fire, both a creator and destroyer, embodies the duality of life. The sun’s radiant energy fuels the cycle of photosynthesis, sustaining the delicate balance of nature. Simultaneously, wildfires can ravage vast landscapes, leaving destruction in their wake. Through these opposing forces, the human spirit perseveres, harnessing the creative power of fire to rebuild what was lost. It fuels innovation, inspiring us to find new solutions, and ignites the flame of compassion, motivating us to extend a helping hand to those affected.

Water, an essential component of our physical makeup, symbolizes the ebb and flow of life. While it nourishes and sustains us, it can also unleash catastrophic events like tsunamis, overwhelming communities and devastating lives. Yet, within the depths of despair, the human spirit rises above, drawing strength from the vast reservoir of determination and hope. It reminds us that, like water, we have the capacity to adapt, heal, and find new paths towards renewal.

In this exploration of the human spirit’s resilience amidst the elemental forces of air, earth, fire and water, we have witnessed the everlasting essence that transcends the physical realm. The spirit’s ability to endure and inspire, even in the face of life’s most arduous challenges, offers a beacon of hope in turbulent times.

As we navigate the complexities of existence, let us embrace the indomitable nature of the human spirit, drawing strength from its unwavering presence, knowing that it will guide us through both the good and the bad, and is what is left when our body and mind eventually expire.

(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is a Change-Engine Consultant. His email address is [email protected]. His columns may be found at and on

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