Don’t Send that Letter!
Indulge me in a little trip down memory lane.
"Please don’t send that letter! You’ll get in trouble."
"She hurt my family, and I want her to know that I won’t ever accept her."
This exchange happened when I was trying to convince my friend, Diane (not her real name), not to send a letter to a woman with whom her father was having an affair with hence led to her parents’ getting a divorce. She sent it anyway. We were 12.
I’m not debating about the rightness of her actions. The conversation may have been better directed at her father.
What I’ve been reflecting on is she had this steadfast commitment to speaking her truth. Even then.
"I’m an environmentalist. We have to save the world from the destruction caused by humans."
"Wow, you’re such an alarmist!," I’d tease her because the earth didn’t seem like it was in trouble. We were 16.
Diane was fighting for climate justice before it was a widespread concept. This was back in the early 90s.
If she witnessed an unjust action, she’d speak up, even if it cost her.
"Hey, you should consider moving in here."
"Umm, sure, I’ll think about it."
This exchange happened when I was considering moving to her town, and she invited me over to her house. It was in disarray - the kitchen was in construction, plastic sheets were everywhere, and the plumbing was iffy.
She and her friends had moved into this home with the vision of revitalizing it and living as a community. She didn’t want to see the unnecessary destruction of another home so she opted to move in. Instead of replying that I had no intention of moving in there because I preferred a finished space, I gave a vague response. We were 24.
During this worldwide pause from normal activities, I’ve been asking how do we live our values. We’re stripped of the usual trappings of daily life and routines where we can go through our day on autopilot.
Diane was a role model for me as she truly embodied her values - values in action. I wish I could ask her how she does it, but she’s no longer with us. It’s been years.
Tomorrow would have been her birthday. I miss her.
If there’s someone who inspires you or is a role model in your life - that friend who always greets you with a big smile, that cousin who’s always good to lean on, or that colleague who brightens up your zoom meetings now with humor for the unusual circumstances we’re in, then my invitation to you is to ask them how they show up that way.
What practices do they have? Sleeping, journaling, playing, meditating, cooking, dancing, running … and take the opportunity to tell them that you admire them.
If this time teaches us nothing else, let it teach us that we’re connected and that time is precious.
Until next time, as always, be gentle & kind to yourself.
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