Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Big Lesson From a Little Spider

“Oh, Charlotte,” he said. “To think that when I first met you I thought you were cruel and bloodthirsty!” 

When he recovered from his emotion, he spoke again. 

“Why did you do all this for me?” he asked. “I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.” 

“You have been my friend,” replied Charlotte. “That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.” 

~ from Charlotte's Web, Chaper XXI - Last Day by E.B. White

  'Charlotte's Web' was the 1st book I ever read all by myself and I will never forget it, both for its prose and its poignancy.  As a child, I already understood that friendship was a great thing.  One of life's greatest gifts.  And as I re-read this story again with my children, it speaks for more than just friendship, but for humanity and life, in general.

  A human's life can be "something of a mess", too.  And our mess is slightly more messy than just trapping and eating flies.  There's far too many messes to list, really. 

  And we've all met people we've seen in a very one-dimensional way at first; only taking in the qualities of that person that were less than flattering.  But if a pig can find the deeper, more complementary attributes in a spider and the spider can lift up their life, why can't we do the same for one another? Why can't we look a little deeper or just accept that each of us has a life's battle to face and appreciate their efforts and help lift them up when they fall short? Why not give something of ourselves because we like the life we have been given and the people we share it with?

  The web you weave should reflect to life you want to live and the love you give. We all have "Some Human" in our life who is "Terrific" and "Radiant" and "Humble"... so tell them, but above all, SHOW THEM.  And when you take the time to lift up your life a trifle, I am sure you'll find that you're all those things, as well. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

A Day's Legacy

 I took this photo very early one morning in 2005. I couldn't tell you the day of the week, but I know I was getting ready for work so it must have been a weekday. I was also missing my boyfriend (who would become my husband) very much. The thought of having to face a day of work only to come home to our home and not see his face was filling me with dread.  I was in my bathroom and saw the reflection of this sunrise in my vanity mirror. Of course, I had to grab my camera before it disappeared into day. I wanted to savor the moment. And although the details of the moment are gone and almost a decade has passed, this simple sunrise has a legacy. It made the dread I had felt waking up alone go away. I became instantly grateful for waking up and knowing that even though he wasn't with me to share the moment, he was "there" for me in every other way.

  I think that's why I got so involved in photography this time around.  I took photography in high school and college.  And my 1st real job was in a small-town photography studio.  But I just didn't appreciate it the same way I do now. I find so much comfort in capturing my children's days and nights; good moments and moments that can only be described as "birth control". But moments that no matter what is going on, I can find appreciation for life; MY life.

  I've also started to keep two journals (in addition to this blog): a one-sentence journal and a gratitude journal. I want to make note of the positives, which not surprisingly, are just simple, small, everyday blessings. In the spirit of living in the moment, I have to put the camera and my journals down and JUST BE, as well. But my goal, my wish is to make each day of my life a little legacy; small, insignificant moments that remind me that it's so easy to find happiness. You just have to keep your eyes and heart open.

"When you are older you will understand how precious little things, seemingly of no value in themselves, can be loved and prized above all price when they convey the love and thoughtfulness of a good heart."
~ Edwin Booth

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Beginning of Something Little

"ON DECEMBER 1, 1997—oh, heck, once upon a time—a boy, no longer little, told his friends to watch out, that he was going to do something "really big" the next day at school, and the next day at school he took his gun and his ammo and his earplugs and shot eight classmates who had clustered for a prayer meeting. Three died, and they were still children, almost. The shootings took place in West Paducah, Kentucky, and when Mister Rogers heard about them, he said, "Oh, wouldn't the world be a different place if he had said, 'I'm going to do something really little tomorrow?..."

To read more: Can You Say..."Hero?" - at Esquire.com

  I admire the late Fred Rogers in the same way I admire my great-grandparents (who I was lucky enough to know well into my teens): I admire them because no matter what the external circumstance was they had this unshakable inner-grace that not only seemed to grant them peace, but gave a sense of peace to those around them. Peace is a commodity in this world. And it shouldn't be because the solution may be simpler than we think. It starts by doing something little... by "deep and simple instead of shallow and complex."

  Doing something really little can make a bigger impact than you think; smile at everyone you meet, let someone with less groceries (or more kids) cut in line at the store, send a letter in the mail to a friend, leave a uplifting note in your kids backpacks, call your grandparents (if you're lucky enough to have them)... little things done with great love.

  2014 is a year I am devoting to "little" things. I have felt that my life has lost some meaning since I stopped working outside my home. I felt like my impact is lessened. In reality, yes, I know. I am doing the greatest job there is: raising human beings who (I hope) will be examples of how children should be raised. It's my desire and drive for impact that may have lead me astray. It was Mister Rogers' response above that confirmed what I have been reading and studying these first two months of 2014: progress toward a better world doesn't have to be BIG or HARD (insert sexual innuendo here, you twisted people I know and love) or SCARY. 

After all, perhaps the most used phrase describing progress is "little by little" not "big by big".