Today would have been Ezra’s 11th birthday.
I have been thinking a lot lately, of how we should be. Every night for the past 15+ years, before I fall asleep I think of the things during the day which I liked or loved, and the things I felt uncomfortable with (external or internal). I make mental notes to arrange my life to be able to do more of those things that I liked or loved, and try to understand the areas I felt uncomfortable. Is there something I need to learn? Something I should have done or said, or not done or said?
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” ― Mary Anne Radmacher
We lost Ezra. We lost Price. We are changed. I find myself less ambitious in the classic sense of the word; I care little for “success” outside of the calmness that comes with stability. I find myself working to see every person as the same as me – of worth, broken, strong. Capable of great love, and capable of shame. And when security shows itself fleeting, I am reminded that the people around us are so very, very valuable.
Of course I want to accomplish. I want to build things. I want to know that in the places I am able to make a difference, I am doing so. That Charley and Robyn feel strong, and compelled to take risks and spend time on things they love, and that they know there is always home. • I want my friendships to make each of us better – more capable, more comfortable, both encouraged and challenged. • I want to know families whose kids are fighting cancer will have – ARE having – a different story than we do, because, in part, of my efforts to tell our stories, and raise money, and put it to effective use. • I want to be the person who runs to open the door for someone who needs it, who does the right thing when no-one is watching or will ever know, who speaks up when someone is mis-treated. I am not always that person.
We are, individually, small. But in community, we feel something more peaceful; a sturdier, older feeling of strength. A rightness and activating of spirit.
“And at once I knew, I was not magnificent.” ― Bon Iver
I am pulled to create. To sit and write this post. To make sure I make space without “tasks” where I think up creative ideas. To make something – a song, a meal, a story. To include Charley so he, too, feels that pull and creates.
I am pulled to slow down. To listen to a full album, front to back, without reading or texting or driving or talking. To read a book which has nothing to do with personal development. To go on a run and let the sweat and the sound of my breathing and every fall of my foot be the only things in my mind. To sit with Robyn, two cups of coffee between us, and talk with her, without a single thought to any of the “to dos”.
Finding balance is our constant struggle – to mesh that ambitious, magnificent, restless big dreamer we are with the compassionate, beauty-in-smallness, comfortable-precisely-where-I-am self we also are.
I miss Ezra. I wish I’d been able to know Price. I am changed by their loss; the moments I understood tragedy. I am not unique in knowing. I will try each “today” to know we are loved, and to help the people around me know it, too. Sometimes quietly, sometimes loudly.
“The job of the wise person is to swallow the frustration and just go on setting an example of caring and digging and diligence in their own lives.” ― David Brooks