He said, “There are only two days in a year when nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is tomorrow. So today is the right day to love, believe, do and live.”-The Dalai Lama-
I firmly believe that a true friend can hear you when you’re quiet. They feel a thrumming of their heartstrings in response, a sudden magnetic pull, urging them to seek you out, to be still, and to listen.
This is the time to check in on those with whom you are connected. Anxiety, depression, despair—those are heavy boulders to carry, and the Atlas-like weight does not have to be carried alone. I am so appreciative of those who have thrown me a lifeline when I feel the walls closing in; I’ve been sent a Bible verse, or funny text, had someone make me laugh. I am equally thankful for the simple act of listening, as it gave me a chance to process my own inner turmoil. This circumstance we are all enduring will still have a lasting impact on everyone’s psyche, something we need to remember.
Just as my kindreds have eased my qualms as of late, I’ve been compelled to dial a number, write a letter, send an encouraging quote, or ask the unaskable question. Maybe I have bits of the nurse and counselor in me. This does not stem from some self-gratifying martyrdom where I get a thrill out of being known as a do-gooder or savior of the lost. It is simply because I love others.
“If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain. If I can ease one life the aching, or cool one pain, or help one fainting robin unto his nest again, I shall not live in vain.”-Emily Dickinson-
I’ve been told I care too much, feel too much, allow others to hurt me too deeply. Here’s what I say to that:
To care is to love.
To be hurt is to know love.
To feel is to experience love.
To worry about others is to show love.
Not caring, not feeling, not worrying is hollow. We were not fashioned to impact this world through an inner emptiness. Love is love is love is LOVE.
At the close of the previous week, when I felt a decline in my will to thrive in this time of inner & global darkness, in true serendipitous circumstance, I opened a letter from a former student that reminded me of what I said in the lines above: there can never be too much love, if you truly care. This young person, still in the fledgling stages of development, admitted to having an abundance of time to reflect over this past year; they came to the conclusion that my persistence with a personal issue plaguing them made more of an impact than first realized. My heart stopped at these powerful words: “It quite literally saved my life.”
I had two other students experience life-altering tragedies or events this week, as well, and all I can think to myself is: Did they know their teacher loved them well? Did they feel like they could reach out to me if the sea of life threatened to swallow them whole?
Four years ago, I directed my first musical, “Into the Woods,” and though Stephen Sondheim’s dizzying score and catchy tunes were enjoyable for both the audience, cast, and me, there was one impactful song that hung heavy on my heart, and it inadvertently became my mission statement for both my classroom and my life. No one is alone.
After the rosy-colored view of each beloved fairytale character is shattered/altered by their experiences with temptation, anxiety, confusion, the increasingly ominous “woods” (read: reality) are ravaged by a disgruntled giant, and the flimsy happily-ever-after conclusion is rewritten. It seems as though all hope is lost. A leader emerges from among the motley bunch, and then, cue this song: “No One Is Alone.”
Look around you. There are many who feel alone or do not know the love of a friend. There’s no day like today to make the time to connect. Be the one who extends a hand or a listening ear. Send an encouraging message, offer to help, put a smile on their face.
To some, it may seem like it would take too much time, but y’all, if there’s one gift we’ve been granted from this aberration, it’s time. In the service of a loved one, it can never be too much.
Help the fainting robin to their nest.
~Kindred Spirit~ 4.21.2020
This post is dedicated to K.F., my kindred sister, who has kept me afloat these past two years with her humor & sense of solidarity, and continues to do so on the daily.