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 Wednesday, July 26, 2017

"We all have thorns in our flesh. All of us. Love is when we stay and help someone pluck out their thorns one-by-one and they do the same for us. Love is also when we pluck the thorns out of our own flesh, one-by-one. But today, the world teaches us that we shouldn’t even see those thorns, that we should only see the petals. As a result, we don’t know how to love ourselves and we don’t know how to love others. Stay with the darkness, and bring that darkness into the light. It’s there, look at it.

In hard times of our lives, in the darkness, we should surround ourselves with the light. We should surround ourselves with close friends and family who do not mind giving out a hug, a conversation or a smile. It’s important that we hold onto the good things when we feel shattered.

I often find comfort in writing first, because it can be hard for me to talk about my emotions directly to the people in my life, mostly because there are times when I do not understand my emotions myself and I do not know how to talk about them. But while writing helps … I always end up feeling a little isolated. I feel like I do not give myself a chance to be vulnerable with the people that I love, which in the end makes me hurt more, not less.

I’ve learned one very important thing. If you are surrounded by the right kind of people, they’ll understand the fact that you might feel confused. We have to be open with the people that we love and that love us, because only by having true conversations can we realize that other people are flawed and confused as well.

You shouldn’t fake a smile when you are hurting. You shouldn’t ignore your emotions. Focus on yourself, your mental health and embrace the fact that it’s OK not to be OK. We forget that so many times. We supress our anger, sadness, loneliness, because it feels “wrong” to feel dark. You should be able to feel the darkness, as long as you do not forget about the light.

As I sit here and type this, I can't help but to think about the fact that I should be planning a 3rd birthday party. I should be buying balloons and picking out the perfect birthday cake. I should be getting ready to celebrate another life. Often times, on these occasions....these monumental events...and I feel so overwhelmed with sadness....I feel silly for even trying to express it.  I miscaried at 13 weeks. I never held this sweet angel in my arms....I never got to kiss her forehead....I never got to whisper the words "I love you" in her perfect little ears and hold on for dear life to her tiny perfect fingers. This is an unspoken truth of so many miscarriages....we mourn and we don't speak of it again. We aren't supposed to feel sadness....because we never held our angel. But it hurts. She was my child. I dream of her sometimes.....and I really don't even know if she was a girl honestly.....but in a dream that God once blessed me with....she as the most perfect little girl in a pink dress I could have ever imagined. So this week, I mourn for the beautiful little life that ended to soon. I mourn for all the little moments that I won't get to celebrate. By sharing this… I hurt just a little less. I let myself feel the darkness … But I embraced the light in it. I need to mourn, yes. But I cannot let the darkness rule my life.

Maybe it feels unfair to you that I am describing this moment. There’s more darkness out there in other things, other people, other circumstances. But let’s not argue on that. Each and every darkness matters. Because if we start defining what’s “worth” of being defined as darkness, we will supress people’s feelings, which in the end isn’t fair to them. What matters is that whenever I feel dark inside myself, for whatever reason, I have to search for the light. And I encourage you all to do the same. We all have bad days, sometimes the sadness just overcomes you for different reasons … But you have to embrace whatever you’re feeling and say “It’s alright.” Even if it doesn’t feel like that and even if you do not quite understand it.

You need to have opened conversations. With the love of your life, your siblings, your parents, your friends, your kids … It’s OK to be flawed. Writing can be a resort, of course, but it won’t make you feel complete.

Tomorrow is another day … And there’s light in it.
“When life leaves us blind, love keeps us kind.” I’m learning to be vulnerable with the people that I love … I’m learning to stay kind.


"I bet you didn't think I could do that."

 Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Last summer, I was walking in a park and something very bizarre happened.
I had been sitting at a picnic table reading. It was a beautiful day — one of those days that brings a small smile to your face whether you notice it’s there or not.
After reading for some time, I decided to go for a walk around our walking trail behind the park before heading home. I stepped on the sidewalk near the picnic table and began walking through the park toward the trail. 
An old black man was on a stroll on the sidewalk about ten feet in front of me. He must have been in his upper 60’s or early 70’s. His shoulders bent forward naturally and he walked slowly. I found him interesting and as I often do, I wondered what his story was. 
I wasn’t in a hurry so we were walking at about the same pace. As the man walked, he glanced back and saw me casually walking behind him. He looked forward, took a few steps, then looked back again. A part of me was thinking, why does this guy keepl looking at me?  
Then he did something completely unexpected.
The old man stopped walking, put his hands above his head, then DID A CARTWHEEL on the sidewalk!
I was so taken aback I stopped walking and just stared at him. My small smile turned to a look of confusion as my brain was trying to put together what had just happened.
He stuck the landing, and we stared at each other for a brief moment, him with the small smile that had previously belonged to me and me with a look of bewilderment. After just staring at each other for a moment, he smugly broke the silence. All he said was:
"I bet you didn’t think I could do that.”
I didn’t know what to say. It was too strange. I was caught off guard. I managed to just say, “Nope. I sure didn’t.”
He gave a nod and a smile, then turned and continued walking. Within a minute or two, he turned to go a different direction and I finished my walk and then headed toward my car.
Have you ever been completely by yourself and laughed so hard you cried (then hoped no one was watching you)? This is what happened as soon as I closed my car door. I felt like the Chewbacca Lady video that had been floating around social media.  The encounter was so random, it just got the best of me.
To be honest with you, I just wanted to tell you this story because it was a little crazy and I don’t think it happens every day. But when I think about it, there are some cool takeaways that can be drawn from it.
I’m sure you could come up with some of your own, but my takeaways are these:
· You have the ability to brighten others’ days
· Age may not be a choice, but “Old” is a choice. Stay youthful!
· Random acts of joy may be just what we need now and then
I’m going to chalk this up as a bizarre, once-in-a-lifetime moment, but a part of me wants to believe that this old man spends his days walking around parks doing cartwheels for unsuspecting bystanders — bringing joy into the world one cartwheel at a time.
It’s not a likely scenario, but who knows? The world needs a few more cartwheels and maybe this old man knows it.
So if you happen to see an old man doing cartwheels in a park, please walk up to him with a small smile on your face and casually say, “I didn’t think you could do that,” then simply walk away.
(and also let me know because it would make my day).


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