Letters to Little One

Love & Where to Find it

Dear Little One,

I’ve been thinking a lot about love lately. There are so many kinds.

Love for the senses: things you love to taste or smell or hear or feel or see.

Love for the brain: things you love to learn about, explore, understand, and invent.

Love for the body: things you do to feel calm or alive or dangerous or happy.

Love for the earth: things that you love to be around, be it outside or inside, underwater or in the air.

Love for the heart: things you will live and breathe and sacrifice and die for.

There’s love between friends and girlfriends and boyfriends and husbands and wives and daughters and fathers and sons and mothers and daughters. There’s self-based love and faith based love. There is tangible love and intangible love.

What’s comforting about all this is that, quite simply, there is love. And no matter where you are in your life, you will have it. It will be around you, it will be inside you, it will be you, even when that seems impossible to believe. So don’t lose hope, Little One, love is always there.

 

See you soon

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Letters to Little One

Help the Sinking, Stay Afloat

Dear Little One,

In training to be a lifeguard, you learn how to control a chaotic, often life-threatening situation. When people are drowning or in fear of drowning, they are desperate for help, and it is your job to get to them, relax them and bring them to safety.

In learning to be a good friend, we are often faced with many of the same situations as a lifeguard, though they often exist on much more figurative planes. Life consistently throws the unexpected at us, knocking us down, pushing us under the water, and while we often try to teach ourselves to swim the best we can, we often rely on our friends to save us when things get too hard.

As a friend, we learn to hold our breath, we learn to paddle and to kick. We learn to stay calm when the person we are trying to save is too panicked to realize they may be drowning us too. Yes, as a friend we do all of these things, because oftentimes we are the only ones who will. However, we must always connect to the fact that we are not just a friend. We are not solely a lifeguard on duty during someone else’s swim. We too are swimming and we too are trying our best to stay afloat. So while we must always keep ourselves open and available to lend a hand when we are needed, we must also take note of where we are in the water.

So, Little One, I ask you to remember this: Love hard enough to want to save the ones around you from sinking, but make sure they put in as much time to help you float.

 

See you soon.

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Letters to Little One

Just Be.

Dear Little One,

Traffic is a funny thing. Have you ever thought about it? We all get so angry like it’s some separate entity, something that blocks our path like a rock or a river, but by definition, traffic is comprised of 100% us. We are what makes someone else’s journey slower just as someone else slows ours. And what’s more, we let ourselves become so frustrated and consumed by it, we will sit in our cars for hours, windows rolled up, music blaring, like we are the solitary sufferers with which no one can relate. No one could possibly understand the importance of where we are going or the burden this traffic will put on the rest of our day. We forget that we’re surrounded by people, that we’re just one of many that happened to be going in the same direction at the same time.

The other day I was on a long run for work and I was people watching while sitting amongst hundreds of others on their morning commute. I play this game where I like to guess where they came from and the little facts that make their story unique. What is their favorite junk food? When was their first kiss? Who do they miss most? These days, more often than not, I’ll find someone on their cell phone, and I’ll immediately look away. I started playing the game because I loved the honest moments I found people having with themselves. I loved the singing and dancing and the zoned out looks of internal conflicts pending resolution. These moments were raw and unapologetic because they were unhindered by the immediate presence of others. They were people allowing themselves just to be. When I find someone on their phone, it’s like looking at a mirage. The person is there, but their mind isn’t and what a crime that is to their mind.

I understand the appeal of cell phones, especially modern day smart phones. They provide us with unlimited entertainment and instantaneous connections with our peers. And I will never be able to say that I don’t spend a fair amount of my time on my phone. But I guess what’s been on my mind lately is how often people feel the need to zone out. Each time a conversation lulls or a silence extends, we reach for our phone, hoping to take our minds somewhere more interesting or more comfortable.

I’ve seen a few artists tackle this subject, commenting on our society’s growing addiction. And I know I’m not the only one that worries about our ability to physically communicate with each other. I know that technology has made it harder for me. I feel this enormous pressure to be funny and interesting at all times because those are the types of things people like.  Those are the things people seek online, and if I can’t deliver them person, than why would anyone want to spend time with me? When I’m quiet, I’m boring, or so I’ve let myself believe.

This is why I’ve started making a conscious effort to put down my phone. I’ve realized: there will never be a blip of social media important enough to ignore the moment you are currently living.

I have no idea what the future holds for technology. I have no idea what kind of cell phone you will have or if Facebook will still be around when you’re old enough to understand it, but I know everything will continue to grow. Things will be bigger and better, as they always seem to be with the passage of time. And with that being said I just ask that you remember to look up. Sit quietly when everyone else is on their phone. Look up at the clouds, take a deep breath, just be.

See you soon.

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