Saturday, August 29, 2015

On Life

I haven't posted in awhile for three main reasons:

  1. One of the last posts I wrote really got me thinking about the direction of this blog, and I got a bit stuck in wondering what to do next.
  2. It's back-to-school time, so a lot of my energy has been going towards getting ready to go back to work.
  3. Major events, both good and bad, public and private, have put me in an introspective frame of mind.

I don't really have much to say about the first two--I'm still mulling over how to best create the blog I want to read, and I don't feel particularly compelled to write about the unit organizers and reading guides I've been cranking out for school. However I think it would do me some good to speak a bit about the third.

There has been much to celebrate this summer. It seems like just about everyone I know is either getting married or having babies, and that's wonderful! It is really exciting and heartwarming to see friends take these happy steps in their lives. My friends who delivered babies this summer have been blessed to have relatively drama- and danger-free deliveries. Not necessarily free of difficulties, but the survival of mom and/or baby has never been in question. I feel delighted and honored to be part of these very personal celebrations.

But as seems to always be the case in life, mixed in with all that joy there has been sadness. A friend was diagnosed with cancer. I fully expect my friend to be triumphant over the rogue cellular army known as cancer, but it hurts my heart to think about the ordeal it was for her just to be diagnosed and what lies ahead.

Image via Deviant Art
Also weighing heavily on me is the on-air murder of a reporter and photographer in Southwestern Virginia. Alison Parker and Adam Ward were employees of WDBJ7, which is my hometown station. I neither knew nor had any personal connection to Alison Parker, but, by all accounts, she was a truly wonderful human being. I did not know Adam Ward personally either, but he went to my high school, and was a friend of many of my younger friends. He was the son of my guidance counselor. My Facebook news feed has been awash in tributes and messages about memorial services. It is clear that they were both so, so loved, and their lives were ended in a truly horrific way.

Image via Brett Pinegar
There is something about major events, whether they are good or bad, that seems to trigger introspection. I'm not talking about envy of newlyweds or new parents or anger about the injustice of the world. Instead I am talking about the quieter, gentler thoughts. The thoughts that cause you to question whether or not you are living your life in a way that helps you access those happy, love-fueled moments and cope with tragedy when it comes your way. You cannot guarantee having a healthy pregnancy or finding The One anymore than you can guarantee remaining disease-free and safe from violence. You do, however, have a lot of control over how you choose to interact with the world. If you want more love in your life, put more love out into the world. If you want to see less hate in the world, make sure that your words and actions are not part of the problem. If you want more joy in your life, look to the small, everyday moments of your life and find it in savoring a cup of coffee or petting a purring cat. As Gandhi so wisely put it, "be the change," and be an example of a life well-lived.

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