IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:
This post is a week late. My mom turned 75 last Friday, June 26.
I didn’t do a blog post that day.
I don’t think I wished her a happy birthday on Facebook.
For the big day, I did better than digital media.
I was with her to celebrate in person. And I wasn’t alone. We had about forty guests, a large group of family and a few close friends, who got together to mark the moment with food, photos, games, and memories.
Our family is scattered all across the US, and at this phase of life, it often takes an act of Congress to bring us all (or as many as can…it is never “all”) together. In recent years, those gatherings have often been for funerals.
But this occasion was joyful. We had multiple generations and all sorts of connections and ages…parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews, near and dear. Oh, it was quite a group!
We rented a community event center for the big day, and with some combined efforts, planned, decorated, and trimmed. We put on a southern barbecue spread, complete with all the trimmings and a family favorite coconut cake. We had games, a slide show that was a walk down memory lane, a little roasting/tribute, and plenty of time to visit. We had a photographer come and make all the requisite photos of the big group as well as smaller groups of individual families, cousins, kids, etc.
We noticed that there are holes in the fabric of the family. Some are gone, and are sorely missed.
But we can still muster a hearty number, and the storytelling, the talk around my mother’s table, site of so many family gatherings over the years, warmed my heart, and reminded me of all the best of my heritage.
My roots are firmly southern, based in a small Mississippi town. The two are entwined, family and heritage.
During our visit, we checked out the small gift stores in town, always a draw. I’ve hauled many a special treasure back from Mississippi over the years.
We ate at the local food truck, and the smoked pulled pork was probably the best I’ve ever had. The owner made a photo of us and chatted while we ate. It’s just that kind of a community.
We went to a summer festival…well, maybe it was a week-early 4th of July event, I’m not sure…but there were kids playing, live music, a mix of people, ages, races, and smiles on hand to enjoy the food and fun. It was small town Americana up close and personal.
We ate catfish and fried dill pickles, my mother’s famous sweet rolls and her even more famous fried rice, caught up with family we haven’t seen in years, other than via Facebook, and I watched Riley and Jack charm the whole bunch. It was satisfying, heart-warming, and smooth from start to finish.
Thank you, Mother, for all you have meant to me and our family all these years. You’ve been part of the glue that has held us together, showed the way, carried the torch.
I’m so glad that this was a birthday I could share with you, that I’ve been so busy being present in person I am just now writing this, as I sit in the airport headed back to Alaska.
It was a charming and special trip. I’m so glad, and I’m so proud of you.
Last week we got to fulfill a long-held dream of sailing a small boat in the Caribbean. It was a perfect way to celebrate Rob’s birthday, with sun, blue sky, bath-water ocean temps and amazing water colors. This morning we came back to Alaska to begin another stretch of work. But we have the photos to remind us we did it!
OK, there was a real captain nearby, just outside of the photo. We got to take a few turns at the wheel, help with sail management, and learned a plethora of nautical terms. For instance, now I know what “tacking” and “three sheets to the wind” means, as well as a lot of other sailing terms. Very important to have these at the tip of my tongue when the situation warrants!
When we weren’t busy sailing, we did the tourist thing, island hopping and snorkeling, kayaking, soaking up sun. At night the lights from all the small island communities twinkle and give a festive feeling to the scene. Without a lot of light pollution, what lights are there really shine.
Oh, and we did a little eating. Just a wee bit!
The water is blue, turquoise, green, and every shade between. It’s magical and mesmerizing. I could sit and stare at the colors and the ocean life for hours at a time. Birds swoop down looking for food, fish jump, sea turtles swim by, and boats are everywhere.
At night the stars are bold, and since they don’t have to compete with a lot of man-made lighting, they become more than they have been….they seem to put an extra level of effort into shining out in the darkness.
We got a special treat while we were star-gazing. We saw the “Southern Cross,” a constellation that’s only visible from a few places in the northern hemisphere. You have to be in the tropics to see it from this hemisphere at all, and then it’s only visible at certain times of the year. Turns out May is the month for prime viewing, so we accidentally timed it perfectly.
The best part was the quiet time to explore, to sit on secluded beaches that dot the islands and enjoy the scenery, the beauty, the charm of a world so different, so far from our well-known paths.
Happy birthday, Rob. I’m glad we shared the magic and the lights. We accidentally timed it perfectly!
My view of the Tongass Narrows, looking out from the window of our house in Ketchikan, was a never-ending parade of activity: sea life, ships, boats, float planes. I loved that view. But last fall, we sold the house and gave up the parade.
My view right now is not mine to keep, but it is mine to enjoy. And that’s a pleasure too. This view is of the beach and water on St. John, US Virgin Islands, and it’s magnificent. The sand is white and the water is blue, green, turquoise, and shades between. The hills rise low and green above the water, and the roads curve around the shore.
I don’t own anything here, but I have the pleasure of enjoying the view for a few weeks.
Rob and I are here taking a breather and reconnecting. We’re in the pause of life. We stopped the merry-go-round to get off and take stock of who we are, what we want, where we’re going.
It’s amazing when life hands you grace and choice, more meaningful because it’s unexpected.
My view has changed, but more important than the view, my outlook has changed. And that’s a good thing.
The beach is calling, life is calling, my partner is calling, and I’ve answered.
It’s a big day for this little. She’s a whole handful today. Just like when it was her mom turning five, I can’t believe it’s come so quickly.
I’ve watched her for five years, and she’s been a joy. What a bundle of energy, and what a funny little girl she is. She’s always got something to say, and most of the time it’s dramatic and unexpected.
She’s an old soul in a five-year old form.
She’s a fancy Nancy, loves frills and twirly skirts.
She’s a beauty, full of childish charm and perfection.
She’s Riley-girl, and she’s a gift.
Happy Birthday to my favorite girl!
I know a bit about needing relief. I’ve felt that many days, from different sources of stress: relationships, health, financial pressures, uncertainty over a looming decision, all difficult in different ways. Depending on the weight of the issue, sometimes it feels like I can barely function, other times the worry is like an overlay…or maybe an underlay… on top of everything else going on.
When I’m struggling with something heavy on my heart, I need to cocoon and hide myself. In the hardest moments, I want to sleep. I know that’s a sign of depression, and though I’ve never been clinically depressed, I know sleep is a coping mechanism for dealing with difficult emotional issues.
I also find it hard to stay focused and be productive. I’ve learned that action is a good antidote to feeling sad, but it can be hard to jump-start myself.
My automatic response to distress is to mask what’s bothering me…not sure if somehow I think that will make the situation go away, or if it’s a retreat from confronting what’s painful…if I ignore it, I won’t have to deal with it.
My way of describing this is “putting on the face.” You know, when you act like life is normal, you greet co-workers, go through the motions, even manage to smile and do whatever is on your agenda.
But all the time, inside you’re dying. You’re dying to hear from someone, or about something, or afraid of an approaching deadline.
Fear and I are old friends. I can tell the extent of my stress by the persistence of the “engine” of fear I feel running in my stomach. You know when you hear references to the feeling in the pit of your stomach? Yes, that’s the one I mean…fear that is so real you can feel it.
It wakes me up at night, this fear. It rouses me from sound sleep to course through me, my mind moving back to familiar grooves as I think about whatever the issue is, once again.
So what’s the answer? Unfortunately, sometimes there’s not one.
Some fears do come true, and there’s no changing that. Tests come back with scary results. People die. Bad things happen.
Some situations are not about circumstances that are beyond our control, but about people who are beyond control. Wouldn’t life be easy if everyone did what I want them to do? Well, that’s not happening either. Or at least, not in a predictable way.
So, how can you find relief, some measure of peace, some way to cope that’s healthy and sustainable?
Because let’s face it, there are all sorts of answers that are not healthy, not sustainable, not realistic.
I can’t sleep my troubles away, don’t want to medicate to handle life, and living in denial doesn’t help either.
So this is what I do…my top ten ways to comfort and soothe when I’m in the valley:
- It sounds counter-intuitive, but I imagine the worst. I just go ahead and get it over with. What if my worst fears come true? What will happen then? Of course I can’t foresee exactly what variables could come into play. But by going to my imagined worst-case scenario, I create a vision of what I would do, what I could do. By facing the worst, I can have at least a minimum plan of response. Maybe I’d need to travel, or consider how a situation would impact financially. I try to think through options in advance. Instead of seeing this as dwelling on the negative, I view this as confronting and planning ahead so I’m prepared, as well as I can be.
- Once I’ve imagined the worst and think of how I would address it, I imagine the best. What if the best possible outcome happens? What then? I imagine how that result would impact me…even good outcomes can create change, and I want to be aware so I can be prepared for the good as well as the bad. At least this step is positive and more hopeful than the first, so it’s an easier exercise.
- I think about things that I can do to soothe in the moment. Sometimes that means doing something physical, like a work out, or just getting out and going for a drive. Other ideas: clean something, paint something, cook something. Do anything that is a positive physical act that gets me moving and helps me feel productive. Stay on top of day-to-day chores. Nothing is more paralyzing than letting go of your physical environment when you’re mentally stressed…if you’re already fragile, living in chaos will only make it worse. Put your mind on auto-pilot and force yourself to keep a routine going. On the other hand, if you can’t do something active, try being still. Meditate and just breathe.
- I have a number of “go to” authors that I read when I need encouragement or comfort, or even a challenge to hold on and breathe and be strong. Knowing whose voices will speak to my heart and mind is a good tool to have in my arsenal to ward off sadness and depression.
- I think about who among family and friends I can reach to, not necessarily to talk about what’s troubling me, but just for the connection. When I can have a “normal” conversation about the day-to-day, it reminds me that there are a lot of wonderful people and good things in life beyond the concern of the moment, and it helps to distract me for a while, at least on a surface level.
- I talk out loud to myself, usually while I pace, or drive. This one may seem strange, and I don’t do it when I’m with anyone else, but it really helps me to work through my plans, fears, hopes, etc., to hear the words out loud. It’s almost like I can move outside myself and get a little perspective.
- I try to get out and meet a friend, have dinner with someone, do something to break my day or evening, change the conversation going on in my mind. That can’t happen every day, but having something on my calendar helps me to look forward to a change of pace, and something that is uplifting. This also includes things like doing something helpful for someone else…anything that gets me out and connecting with other people is a mood lifter, and a distraction, and that’s healthy. I try to do this even if I’m not in the mood to do it at the beginning. Acting my way to feeling better is a positive way to improve my mindset.
- I write. I’m a writer, so that’s therapeutic for me. If I can put what bothers me into words, I can get a better grip on the whole thing. I can vent, rant, be sad, talk it all out on paper, and oddly, writing through an issue gives me a different perspective than talking it through out loud or with someone else. It also gives me a record to review down the road. It’s a good check to see if I’ve sorted myself out and resolved what’s troubling me. I don’t try to keep a daily journal when I’m stressed, I write as I feel the need. But I do keep what I write, sometimes just until I have an answer, and sometimes longer if the issue is deeper, and something I may need to visit again.
- I talk it out with a trusted soul. Depending on the issue, everyone in my life may know what’s going on, or only a select few. I don’t like to air my issues casually, but being able to open up to the right person or group can do a world of good.
- I pray, if possible, out loud, or I sometimes write my prayers. If you’re not a praying person, this one won’t help. For me, there’s relief in taking my heart to God, and believing that he hears and cares about what hurts in my life.
So that’s it. I hope, next time you feel your fear, some of these ideas will help. And if you have a great strategy for dragon-slaying, please share…I can always use another weapon in my arsenal! ~ Sheila
I posted about attending a Vipassana meditation retreat last November, and it was such an amazing experience I decided to write about it. Life has been full of ups and downs, starts and stops, and it took a while to get it done. But I finally posted it to Kindle today, and tomorrow and Monday it is free as an introductory promotion. If you’re interested in grabbing a copy, please do so, and it would be even better if you’re able to leave a review. It’s an overview of the experience, designed to share insight into what it was like to sit and meditate for 10 days, the things that were good, the things that were hard, and my personal point of view as a practicing Christian, attending a retreat inspired by Buddhist philosophy.
I also share some of my relationship struggles and the story that prompted me to attend.
My bottom line? It was very worthwhile, and a surprise that I didn’t expect…I had no plan to attend a meditation retreat at the beginning of last November, yet a few days into the month I was on my way. If you’ve ever wondered about taking a time out to do something like this, maybe this read would encourage you to put it on your bucket list.
I hope you’ll check it out!
Here’s the link: Vipassana Meditation and the Sound of Silence
I recently found this poignant story of a woman whose talent for photography was discovered after her death. You can scroll through the linked slide show to see some of her beautiful work.
What’s striking, beyond the technical beauty of the photos, is the theme that comes through in so many of them: glimpses of every day scenes from city streets, a look into the lives of people who must have been strangers to Vivian, but were captured in a flash of time and old fashioned black and white film. And now these people have their moment of fame, because Vivian Maier is finally being celebrated as an artist.
Vivian Maier was a nanny for 40 years, and I’m sure that the impact of her life on the children she cared for is still being felt, because what we do matters, whether we are “discovered” or not, famous or not.
Her photography was discovered because her possessions were auctioned off before she died.
Today her work would make her rich.
Well, perhaps it did make her rich in her lifetime. It’s possible we just can’t recognize the currency of that wealth to her.
I rarely watch the Oscars. Usually I haven’t seen many of the movies up for awards, and that’s certainly the case this year.
But tonight I’ll be watching, and hoping that the film that celebrates this woman’s work, and life, wins the award for best documentary. It will be a good thing to see a life marked and honored, the work of a woman who saw a lot more than anyone guessed.
This story makes me think: what am I doing that will live on? What do I do that may seem insignificant to me, but still matters, touches lives, leaves a mark?
We all leave marks.
Some lives burn brighter and seem bigger than others. That’s part of the draw of an event like the Oscars…a peek into the world of celebrity. It’s a world most people only know from the outside, looking in.
But Vivian’s story hits home. I’m making photos every day…not like the ones she captured, but snapshots of my life, my touch on the lives around me. And my work has an imprint.
What would that look like if it was suddenly viewable, put on the screen for the world to see?
I hope it would be as beautiful as these photos, and capture the right moments.
I click through the images in the slide show, and I think to myself: give us eyes to see the real, and the important.
I’m passing through SeaTac this afternoon…reminded me of this little adventure…just distant enough now I can recall it without a shudder…
So there I was, traveling down from Ketchikan to Seattle, December 19, just in time to celebrate Jack’s 2nd birthday the following day, and launch the round of Christmas festivities. It was all going so well…connections worked from Metlakatla to Ketchikan, and though I did get stuck in a middle seat on the flight, in spite of the premium price of the ticket, still…Christmas and birthdays and family…it was all good.
We even landed early.
That was really where the story began. We landed early. Stephanie had planned to pick me up, so I knew she would be waiting for my text saying I was on the ground. I thought I would just pop into the restroom before texting so she wouldn’t pull around to the arrivals level too early. I was holding my phone as the thought registered, and I set it down with my purse and backpack when I went into the restroom.
The stop I chose was the last restroom on the D concourse at SeaTac, the last one before you exit the secured area. Do you know that airport? I’m pretty familiar with it at this point, and I strolled out of the restroom, past the guard sitting by the big sign reminding passengers that they were re-entering the real and unsecured world.
Baggage claim is one floor down, and I was standing on the escalator heading down when I glanced at the pocket in my purse where my phone should have been.
In an instant, I knew where it was, the moment I saw where it wasn’t.
Let’s just say a bolt of electricity / adrenaline hit my body and I spun around like a crazy woman and began climbing the stairs of the escalator. I had checked my luggage, but I still had a purse, backpack, and a small gift bag, and the purse and backpack were heavy with all the things I never check…laptop and iPad, chargers and all the essentials you can’t do without if the luggage is lost. And I was wearing a polar fleece vest and my coat…I just came from Alaska, and it was December, so I was dressed for the weather.
Suddenly, I was overdressed.
I never sweat, but I felt like I had run a distance race, climbing up those stairs…why I did that I’ll never know, except all I could think was turning around and running back to the restroom where I hoped I would find my phone, hanging out on the shelf where I had left it just minutes before.
As I gained momentum and was almost at the top of the escalator, a man was waiting to step on, and said “Boy, that’s a great way to get your exercise!”
Barely pausing to answer, but absurdly feeling I owed this complete stranger an explanation for my bizarre behavior, I yelled, as I caught the last step, “I. Left. My. Phooooonnnne!” I didn’t look behind me to see if he was horrified for me or amused at me…I couldn’t stop now that I was off the steps.
I raced back to the exit point…the one with the guard…I panted out what had happened and hoped I was sufficiently pathetic to appeal to her sense of pity and humanity, but I couldn’t budge her. To be honest, I hadn’t thought that far ahead when I did my about-face on the escalator, I just knew I had to try to get back to the phone.
She sent me around the corner to the check-in desk for Alaska Airlines, since I had just come off an Alaska Air flight. I inserted myself into a line…if you knew me you would know only dire distress would ever cause me to do that…and I breathlessly told my story…by now feeling a little more desperate as the minutes since I had left the restroom ticked by.
Did I mention, this was a new iPhone 6, and it was in a case that had my driver’s license and the main credit card I use for everything? Perhaps you begin to appreciate my state of mind.
It wasn’t pretty.
The Alaska Air agent shepherded me over to a customer service agent, who began to inquire, halfway through my story…had I come off a flight or was I getting on a fight? I just stared at her, open mouthed, I’m sure…what difference did that make? And of course I just came off a flight…I had just come through the secured area…I stared in disbelief as she printed a new boarding pass for me, with the flight info for the flight I had just left…what good could that possibly do me now? And how did it relate to getting back to the restroom?
Well…there is no mercy in the TSA system, let me tell you!
Not only was there no one from the airline or TSA who would allow me to go back and look for my phone from this side of security…no one would do it for me. The only solution was for me to go back through the security screening and back to the restroom myself. But to get through the screening I needed a boarding pass.
The full horror of the scene burst upon me…they actually expected me to go back through the whole security process, with all my stuff in tow, and then walk back to the bathroom to look for my phone.
Did I mention this was a new iPhone 6? With my id and credit card???
I had the presence of mind to ask if I could at least leave my bags at the customer service desk to speed the process.
But no, there is no mercy at Alaska Airlines either. At least not in this situation.
So I hauled, shaking by this time, back to the security line.
Did I mention this was Dec 19?
The lines were full of happy people who had not left their phones on the other side of the secured Great Wall of China, and who were chatting, taking their time, and who had all, seemingly, brought every conceivable thing that would slow the whole process to the point of a crawl.
By the time I got to the agent checking id and boarding passes (fortunately I had a second state ID in my purse, since my license was with the phone) I was beginning to envision a scene…me causing a security incident as I waiting for the v e r y s l o o o w people in front of me to get through the line. I kept seeing the scene unfold on the evening news…”woman has meltdown at SeaTac over new iPhone.”
Well, it was very upsetting to me. But not worth going to security jail over…and anyway, by this time, I was at least 20 minutes out from the time I left it, so my hope of finding it was fading. But I couldn’t walk away without trying.
I spent the few minutes in the security line thinking through the process of replacing the phone, canceling the credit card, thinking of how I would get in touch with Stephanie…because of course I don’t know her cell number, or Matt’s cell number, or my son’s cell number…I was just solving that puzzle when I made it through the line, and I was able to do a sprint to the D concourse.
By this time I felt like I had run a marathon. I could have used a tranquilizer or a shot of something stiff, and if anyone had looked at me wrong I would have likely melted on the spot…you know that point when you feel like you can’t take one more person explaining why they can’t help you? I was in a fragile state and Just.One.Word would have sent me over the edge.
I walked into the restroom and saw a janitor there, and I asked her if she had seen a phone on the shelf.
She looked at me and said the most beautiful words.
“It was turned in to lost and found, down by baggage claim.”
Oh, I could have kissed her! But I kept it to a heartfelt and hurried “Thank you!” and raced out the door, headed down the same path I had just taken a half hour before.
I stood on the escalator steps, this time catching my breath and calming myself, thinking of Stephanie, realizing she must be wondering what had happened to me.
I walked over to the baggage carousels, and standing there waiting for me was Stephanie and Riley, Jack in his stroller, and Stephanie said, “Mom, I’ve got your phone.”
The story had been working on the other side. My phone had its own little adventure while I had been running around like a crazy woman. If only I had known I could have saved myself a lot of anxiety and a near melt down in the security line. I could have stopped off for a latte and just relaxed and waited it out. But noooo!
Well, that’s life…you can’t always see how things are sorting themselves out, and you have to do what you think is in your power to do.
So the story from Stephanie…
She was waiting with the kids in the cell phone lot, as is standard practice…saves getting the kids out and paying a parking fee, so she just drives up to the arrival doors when she gets the text that I have my bags.
She called my phone to see if I had landed, and she got an answer on the other end, just as she expected.
She didn’t miss a beat, until it suddenly registered…the voice she heard had an accent, and it wasn’t southern. She immediately asked who had the phone, and where they were.
At this point, Stephanie realized this was a situation that was going to require parking, so she got the kids out and came into the airport and stationed herself at baggage claim. Of course my bags had already come off the flight by this time. Alaska Airlines prides themselves on speedy bag delivery.
Turns out it was the janitor who found the phone and answered it. She was able to pass the phone off to an airport police officer, and he in turn gave it to Stephanie. So by the time I saw her, it was already recovered.
It took me the rest of the night to calm down. I kept hearing myself talk too fast and too loud…fortunately we had an hour drive to the house with the traffic, so I was a calmer version of myself by the time we got there.
And later, my only regret was that I didn’t get the name of the woman who found it. At a minimum I would have liked to have thanked her more profusely, and given her some type of reward for being honest and turning it in.
I know the others I encountered in that half hour were following the rules and protocol…at an intellectual level I understand what happened. But I still think there should be some other option…situations like mine probably occur often enough. Maybe they need to create a runner service at airports to go back and retrieve lost items…I would have paid someone to do that for me. Maybe some entrepreneur will set up a service desk opposite the guard post and offer to retrieve items left behind the secured barrier for a small fee. All I know is, when you’re already stressed, it doesn’t help to have to navigate security again.
The last couple of times I’ve traveled, I get this little reminder from Stephanie…
“Got your phone?”
Ah, that girl! She was my rescuer that night!
And yes, I have my phone. :)
And just in case you’re wondering…going up the down escalator actually is a great workout!
Love is perhaps the most over-used and least understood word in any language.
And today, Valentine’s Day, it is especially overworked. Love is the key word in all the cards and messages that go out across the world.
But what is its essence?
To love without condition means selfless reaching out, a giving up, putting the other person first.
Love forgives, and doesn’t look back.
Love holds on, and doesn’t give up.
Love doesn’t measure past faults.
Love stands up and braces against the challenges of life.
Love is strong.
Love is soft.
Love is amazing when you feel it flowing out, and overpowering when it comes in like a tide.
The greatest love is not found in a season of new. It can only be fully discovered and revered in maturity. How can we know what we have without comparison, without recognizing we’ve weathered and grown? And how can we know how strong love is unless it has been through the fire?
We can only know we love unconditionally when we’ve confronted conditions.
The beautiful moments make the photos, the Facebook page, the Twitter feed.
The hard times make the love.
It is the hard times that tell you if you have the real thing or the pretty thing, the last-a-lifetime connection or the last-as-long-as-it-feels-good relationship. There are plenty of those around, and yes, it is easy to mistake one for the other.
Who doesn’t like it when it feels good?
No one has the answers, a formula worked out neat and predictable, least of all me.
But I know it when I see it.
And I know it is worth having, worth working for.
On a day of icons, roses and chocolates and pretty cards, if you’re receiving or giving, I hope you’ll enjoy the moment.
Just know…the real thing is likely to show up on a Tuesday, disguised as something not glamorous, not photo-worthy, even unexpected.
And I guarantee…the Tuesday moment when love is demonstrated, not with beauty and ceremony, but in a flash of nitty-gritty, real life, and inconvenience…look there for the meaning, for the stamp of belonging.
Look to those moments to see love in all its power, showing up without the disguise of romance, standing in the gap and holding firm when you need it most and maybe deserve it least.
We can all be pretty and sweet on date night. But on a Tuesday…that’s when the real thing happens, and the bonds are forged.
Happy Valentine’s Day, to all the romantic souls who dress up today and celebrate the moment.
And may your Tuesdays be beautiful too, full of opportunity to give and receive real love, without condition, with all your heart.