what one life can do

kenan and joel

I have been thinking of the power each life embodies – the potential energy inherent in each person – what one life can set in motion. One life.

When I think of the people who breathed life over me, I think of my sisters and brother. Rare friends. A stranger here and there. First Magpie and then K being knit within and no clue as to their powerful influence on my life – even now. The people they’ve chosen to love and a menagerie of rescued pets. Wow wee. You’ve heard these names before.

In heartbreak, healing and the crown jewels of laughter and love, one life can do so much to change the course of a life and often without knowing. A quiet nod on the subway and the giggling of two little girls in St. Louis. Neighbors like Martha, Jami and more. My Czechoslovakian neighbors from Altbach. C.S. Lewis and Madeleine L’Engle and Paul Fleischman. The O.G. A.L. (Abraham Lincoln) and Alberta who loved this buck-toothed towhead whirlwind well and smelled of peppery southern hamburgers.

There is no end to what one life can do.

Some people bring more sorrow than sweetness. Some surprise. Some will be remembered by the laughing and staying up way past what leads to lucidity at work. So unexpected. Equally compelling.

We all have threads running through our stories of people who loomed large and left little for the trouble and others who showed up for a signature moment. A season.

So don’t give up, Pals.
This is not a wash.
You have more power than you know. 
In your own life and the lives of others.

You can be…we can be the people who unwittingly encourage the frightened person on the subway. You can be the person in yoga class who winks when another yogi faceplants or the stranger who stands in the rain with the one who is lost and who’s car has given up the ghost.

Hang in there. There’s no telling – yet – what your one life can do.
There is always “still time” until you no longer have time…here on this dirt clod spinning around the sun. Don’t give up. I am cheering you on as you navigate this great unknown of living.

Resources for times when you forget how awesome you are:

  • get outside
  • play if you can
  • call someone you trust; let them know how much they mean to you
  • volunteer to pet puppies at the shelter or shovel your neighbors’ walk
  • crank up your favorite music and sing. loudly. on repeat.
  • take a walk
  • take a nap (“most issues of a spiritual nature can be solved first by a nap.”)
  • clean out your closets and share what no longer serves you
  • add pen to paper; write your way through
  • make/buy a card for someone who probably doesn’t get much mail. include an extra stamp in case they feel like replying.
  • turn off the telly and laptop/iPad
  • feed the birds
  • try something that scares you: cook for a friend, take a class or ask that person out
  • mosey to/through the library
  • rollerskate
  • quiet your good heart and mind; meditate, pray, take a bath
  • meet someone new
  • take the initiative and compliment someone
  • if a gratitude journal is not your thing, how about a wonder walk? wherever you are, get up and look for the small or less-seen things. bonus points if you post photos so other folks can share in your wonder.
  • get real with yourself. you may find that you are quite awesome and at the doorway of something you’ve waited for. you are worth it. (“you can be a masterpiece and work-in-process simultaneously.”)
  • go through the couch cushions and car: with the change you find, invite a friend for coffee.
  • call me, I’ve been looking for someone to play scrabble with
  • Check out my Top 100 Things to Do from a while ago

Three songs currently on my playlist to help you hang in there as you learn what your one life can do.

Take My Hand, Ben Harper & the Blind Boys of Alabama

This is Me, Greatest Showman soundtrack

How far I’ll Go, Moana soundtrack

Bonus: I wish I was by the Avett Brothers

#derringdo to you and me.


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