Throw Out Fifty Things

Monday Morning Motivator-STOP...AND PUT YOUR ARMS OUT



As President Obama said Friday, our hearts are broken. The collective heart of the country is broken. Newtown is our town. Their grief is ours. “But what can we do?” everyone is asking each other. What can we do...  I can only think of one thing: We have to put our arms out - physically and metaphorically, literally and figuratively. Put our arms out and wrap them around each other, wrap therm around life. Now.

We live our lives at warp speed. A minute ago it was the Fourth of July. A minute from now it’ll be Christmas. A minute later it’ll be Memorial Day... “It’s as if the world is spinning faster.” a friend told me recently, “And the only thing we can do is hold on for dear life..” But that, it turns out, is not living. Gandhi said, “There’s more to life than simply increasing its speed.” And now, in this moment of heartbreak, all of us have stopped. And we’re actually looking at each other. Loving each other...crying together.


So again, what can we do? We can stop...for longer than a moment. We can focus not only our prayers and our hearts on the people of Newtown - but our attention - on the tiny little things that actually comprise the bits and pieces of any given, precious day - for any one of us. The things that are only a blur when we’re in constant motion - responding, reacting, recalibrating. But if you look back into your life at the moments you remember best, they’re probably small - a word, a chance encounter, something breathtakingly beautiful - a sight, a sound...a hug...that you’d have missed entirely if you hadn’t stopped to look up, or listen, or put your arms out...

I was about ten years old when I first watched the old black and white film version of Thornton Wilder’s landmark play, Our Town. To say I was moved to tears is an understatement. And Friday it all came back. You see, I think Newtown is not all that different from Wilder's Grovers Corners - or any other small town in America. And Emily, the film's main protagonist, is not all that different from any one of us. Perhaps you remember her last poignant words...

“Good-by, Good-by, world. Good-by, Grover's Corners... Mama and Papa. Good-by to clocks ticking... and Mama's sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new-ironed dresses and hot baths...and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you.” 

It’s Christmas. This is a perfect time, right this minute, even in this moment of heartbreak, for us to “realize” earth, each ticking, pies baking, fires crackling, eyes glowing, love spreading. Yes, it's Christmas. Stop. And put your arms out...

Gail Blanke’s Lifedesigns©2012 All Rights Reserved

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