I find myself at a loss for words so often these days. My heart hurts for all of the pain and suffering in the world, for the children who go too soon, for the widows for the kids whose parents leave them orphaned and alone. As cliché as it sounds, everyone is fighting their own battle. I’m sure, like me, you’ve watched or read the news in horror. This post isn’t about Sunday night, it isn’t about terrorism or North Korea or any one event, and at the same time it’s about everything. As much as I value staying informed and staying alert there are days that I have to tune out to keep myself from living in a constant state of panic. Just reading about the evil in the world makes me absolutely sick. I walk around feeling nauseous, my heart beating faster and faster as the day progresses and then I feel ashamed and guilty because my life is good. It feels wrong to be afraid or anxious when this far in my life I have been so fortunate, so lucky.
It’s a struggle to find a balance of how to feel. Do I allow myself to tune in and walk around plagued with anxiety so I can feel fully empathetic for all the people hurting in the world? Do I turn off the news and silence my phone so I can enjoy the beauty around me? Of course, the correct answer (if there is a correct answer) has to fall somewhere in the middle. We have to find a way to show others love and empathy without destroying our lives by living in fear. We have to take responsibility for the world we live in but we can’t let the darkness consume us. I am not pretending to have the answers, but I’m doing my best.
Today’s post isn’t meant to be all about the negative though. In fact, it is in difficult times that it is important to look for the light, if only so we can be that light to those who need it most. When I am affected by my own struggles big or small I remind myself to look for the tiny sparks of joy that can be found all around us. I own that I am incredibly privileged, I live a beautiful life and have been dealt good cards for the most part. I do my best not to take the people and situations in my life for granted. We all have dark days and struggles though. So we all can benefit from learning to look for the sparks of joy in our own lives.
Perspective is EVERYTHING. Some days you’re going to break down when you realize your car is out of gas, and some days you’re going to wish for those stupid, bratty, life-is-so-good-I-can-cry-over-spilt-milk break downs because you’ve realized true loss, true pain and you don’t know how your heart can keep beating. Sometimes you find joy in a friend or snuggly puppy, or new adventure in an exotic locale, other days you have to find joy in something smaller like the sun warming your shoulders or the way a hot bath seems to hear your body from the inside out. Truthfully, I don’t believe looking for joy means you have to be happy all of the time. When life steals away something or someone precious you deserve to take time to be sad. You deserve to be angry! You can feel the full depth and breadth of emotions that make up the human experience while still appreciating your favorite shade of green found in the dewy grass or the sweetness of brown sugar in your morning oatmeal. Life is complex, and so my darling are you.
I feel mad at myself when I am anxious. I am angry with my stupidity when I snap at something little or find myself rolling my eyes over the minor inconveniences we all experience. My life is at a really great place right now. Things feel good; things feel right. It is in these moments it is important to remember how fragile life is. It only takes a moment, one small microsecond in the grand scheme of the universe for your world to fall apart, just a crack can cause a rift that can change the course of your life, or end it. I don’t dwell on the fragility of life to be depressing but as a constant reminder to live hard and love hard because I could be dead soon. Remembering that none of us are promised 80 years or even tomorrow is sometimes the encouragement needed to put down your phone & enjoy the sunset, to turn off Netflix & really snuggle your pup, to call your loved ones & listen & tell them you love them. The world is spinning fast, our lives are busier than ever, there is noise everywhere, but what truly matters pervades time.
I don’t know how I feel about Steve Jobs (Believe it or not I have not watched any of the movies about his life, read any biographies or done an ounce of research) but a statement he made once has always resonated with me:
Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
This post has been an emotional melting pot but I need that sometimes. I need to spill my heart. Look for your sparks of joy today, really feel each hug and let love linger. Remember your mortality and savor the beauty life has to offer.