Feb 21, 2016

Spot of Sunshine

The past few days, the sun has been out especially bright for this time in the winter and it makes me happy, happy, happy! I always forget how rejuvenating sunshine is until I get big ol' dose of it and realize what I've been missing :) 

(On this sunny day, this view in real life was breathtaking. This picture...not so much. But I included it as a reminder of how refreshing this beautiful earth is!)

The sunshine got me in the mood to write some of the thoughts I've had lately. I have two main thoughts.
First: I have been thinking a lot about hard things people go through. Specifically, disabilities/health conditions that severely incapacitate individuals. Why do such enormously hard circumstances exist? 

This isn't a new question and I generally feel fairly satisfied about the answers I have for this question, such as a chance to learn/prove/develop what you're made of so you can be a better person.) But. Some of the conditions I am thinking about seem so very limiting that it hardly seems the person is able to personally develop from the circumstance (for example, someone with severe cognitive disabilities). 

My question was satisfied in a simple, touching way. 

I work with 6th and 7th grade students (and LOVE them!). One student approached me wondering if I could help her come up with a way she could do something kind for a classmate with severe disabilities. This student had already been spending time with her classmate but wanted a way to do something more. Through the collaboration of a plethora of individuals (a teacher, the vice principal, the women who run the Boys & Girls program, a friend of one of these women, and 6th/7th graders in a Random Acts of Kindness after-school club), the idea was formed and the plan was executed to make a blanket for this girl. The blanket was beautiful. As was the experience. 

So many individuals reached out to make this blanket-endeavor a success. There was my answer. Yes, one of the reasons life is hard is so that we can grow and learn and become something stronger and better. But a parallel reason life is hard is so that we can love each other. So we can look beyond our own interests and growth to care about someone else and their world. (Which, in turn, helps us learn and grow.) There are some tough, tough things in life.  So we learn. And we love.
Second--and related--I have the lines of  a Sam Foss poem frequetly circling back to me lately: "Let me live in a house by the side of the road and be a friend to man." (There is actually a super awesome house in Brigham City themed around this poem, maybe I'll take a couple pictures of it and add it to this post, I love it!)

Here is the poem :)

The House by the Side of the Road--Sam Walter Foss

There are hermit souls that live withdrawn
In the peace of their self-content;
There are souls, like stars, that dwell apart,
In a fellowless firmament;
There are pioneer souls that blaze their paths
Where highways never ran;-
But let me live by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

Let me live in a house by the side of the road,
Where the race of men go by-
The men who are good and the men who are bad,
As good and as bad as I.
I would not sit in the scorner’s seat,
Or hurl the cynic’s ban;-
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I see from my house by the side of the road,
By the side of the highway of life,
The men who press with the ardor of hope,
The men who are faint with the strife.
But I turn not away from their smiles nor their tears-
Both parts of an infinite plan-
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I know there are brook-gladdened meadows ahead
And mountains of wearisome height;
That the road passes on through the long afternoon
And stretches away to the night.
But still I rejoice when the travelers rejoice,
And weep with the strangers that moan,
Nor live in my house by the side of the road
Like a man who dwells alone.

Let me live in my house by the side of the road
Where the race of men go by-
They are good, they are bad, they are weak, they are strong,
Wise, foolish- so am I.
Then why should I sit in the scorner’s seat
Or hurl the cynic’s ban?-
Let me live in my house by the side of the road

And be a friend to man.


Feb 20, 2016

"Authentic" Musings

(This is not necessarily a post about something that inspires me. This is just a post about my 2 cents on the subject of posing/authenticity in social media ;))

Awhile ago, I came across a buzzfeed article that I found hilarious: http://www.buzzfeed.com/stephaniemcneal/hipster-barbie#.mmANQAnRE

Basically, it pokes fun of how overly-staged people's lives can seem through the lens of social media. (Hash-tagging "live authentic" or other such sayings despite the misrepresenting their lives in accompanying pictures.)

(I found this humorous and it seemed fitting for the post ;))

My thoughts....

Number 1: Holy smokes, agreed!!!!! On several occasions, I have seen people post very pinteresty pictures about feeling inspired or about how rosy their day/life is, only to find out they were actually having a super crappy day or that their lives are in complete shambles. 

Number 2: Ummm....I love cool pictures! So...I actually enjoy the breathtaking nature shots, cleverly setup pictures of family/friends/things, and tributes to events that people got to experience. People are so creative, and it astounds me and inspires me. 

Number 3: I'm split! I am bugged that people so often present themselves falsely. But...would I like it any better if people were using social media to keep us updated about the mundane or unpleasant aspects of their lives? (#toasterbrokeagain) We like to share the positives! The cool trips we go on, the cool sights we see, the experiences (everyday or unusual) that we enjoy, and the people we love. (Even on crappy days or when much of our lives are in shambles, there are good things that happen, and it is great when people can acknowledge that.)

I have no real conclusion to this rant. The posing bugs me. The sharing of awesomeness inspires me. 

I think we are all trying to discover who our "authentic" self really is, probably because we develop that self in the process of trying to find it. 

Maybe the only real problems come if we let ourselves think (1) every second of our life must be snapchat/instagram/facebook/twitter-worthy or (2) only the post-worthy moments in life are valuable, or (3) when we allow ourselves to feel jealous or inferior when we see what everybody else is posting. 

Maybe the good comes when (1) we think how great it is that someone found enough joy in what they were experiencing to share it, (2) we feel inspired to do something or change something positive, or (3) we get to keep in touch with someone we don't see regularly, or (4) whatever other good you can think to get out of what people post. 

I guess this is the conclusion of my rant: enjoy the good that you encounter and let the rest fly by.