Monday, July 30, 2012

I need to believe that people are good

There is never a time that showcases raw humanity more than the aftermath of a tragedy.

For better or worse, the recent Aurora theater shooting has reminded us of this. While it's easy to point fingers at the shooter, James Holmes, as a figure symbolizing the depravity of the human race, I think it's better to look to the outpouring of support for the victims of the shooting and the incredible stories of sacrifice, heroism and compassion that have come out of this horrific event. Whether it's an airline offering free flights to family members of victims to attend their funerals or brave men who took bullets for their girlfriends or an actor visiting his fans in the hospital or the encouraging words of a faithful woman who narrowly escaped death -- this is what we should be focusing on. The kind and courageous acts of many, not the wicked act of one and certainly not politics or semantics.

On an entirely different note, happening right now is one of the greatest displays of human achievement in the world: the Olympics. If there is any event that can always bring back hope and unity, it's the Olympics. Nothing inspires me more than seeing the cameraderie, the passion and the spirit of the Olympic athletes -- from the U.S. and around the world. It's a beautiful thing, and it restores my faith in humanity. I believe that we need these reminders -- wherever and whenever they come -- and we need to keep faith, now more than ever.

And I need to believe that people are good; not that they are inherently good, but that there is goodness in them. Call me naive, call me immature, call me whatever, but know this is coming from an optimistic skeptic (or a skeptical optimist?). I know that as humans, we can be pretty terrible. I've witnessed it, I've heard about it, I've been unable to ignore it. But I've also seen that we can be pretty great. This is the lens with which I choose to view humanity -- not rose-colored but a slight rosy tint.

People will always continue doing both evil and wonderful things. We can't pretend that the evil things don't happen, but we can choose how they affect us. I choose to be an optimist. I choose to see the good in people whenever possible. I choose to judge little and love a lot. I choose to try and be humble and forgiving in hopes that others will return the favor when I don't deserve it. I choose hope.

What do you choose?

<3 Mrs. G

Sunday, July 29, 2012

i thank you God for most this amazing day

Recently, I have been feeling very blessed. We were up at our cabin over the week of July 4th with friends and family, and it was the most amazing feeling to have so many people we cared about in one place -- at our place, no less. But it was also a weird feeling, because this lifestyle is still so foreign to me. I didn't grow up going to cabins or even lakes very often. This "cabin life" that is so essential to the culture here in Minnesota doesn't exist in the South. The only people I knew with cabins lived in the mountains, and even lakehomes weren't very common. But I guess having 10,000 lakes is also a bit of an advantage for this state...

As a kid, I never went boating, never tried any water sports, never even went fishing, and I only swam in a lake a handful of times. Here, everyone has grown up with lakes and boats and water sports. It's part of the childhood experience in MN, and that's just in the summer (don't even get me started on winter activities here). I feel like I'm behind and constantly trying to catch up, but almost past the age of being able to, if that makes sense. For instance, I still haven't tried waterskiing and have only been tubing once (last summer). And here's an embarrassing confession: I get scared just sitting in the boat sometimes. When the boat takes a sharp turn, my heart starts beating really fast and I feel like I have to adjust my body to overcompensate for the turn, whereas everyone else just sits calmly. I'm practically in the middle of the boat, praying it won't tip over... After a few days, I got more used to it and have started employing the same technique I use while Mr. G is driving -- I just keep my head down and, if necessary, shut my eyes. If I don't see the boat tipping, it's not tipping. Very rational, I know, but if it keeps me from looking like a panicked fool or crying, I'll take it.

Anyway, when the boat isn't about to capsize, it actually feels wonderful, and I'm starting to get why people enjoy them so much... On a hot day, nothing beats taking the boat out to a random spot on the lake, jumping into the cold water, and then letting the wind dry you off on the ride back. I'm learning to love it.

On our first night with the boat, Mr. G took me out on it -- just the two of us -- while the sun was setting over the lake. We drove around the perimeter of the lake, seeing everything for the first time, and then stopped for a while so Mr. G could fish. In that peaceful moment while we were still, I felt overwhelmingly blessed, relaxing in a boat on a beautiful sunset lake with a cozy cabin (our cozy cabin) waiting for us. And that was when a line from a poem by e.e. cummings (one of my favorite poets) came to mind: i thank you God for most this amazing day. That was exactly how I felt then -- in awe of the moment and yet wanting to give thanks for it. Here's the full poem:

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of all nothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

From that day on, there were several times throughout the week of the 4th (mostly on the boat -- sometimes out of happiness, sometimes out of fear) that that line popped into my head. It became a short prayer of thankfulness, a small way to acknowledge little blessings and those "life is good" moments. I decided to keep it going in hopes that I'll become more present and aware of all the ways in which I am blessed. So now, whenever I have one of those moments where everything seems to be right with the world -- even if just for a few minutes -- I repeat that line in my head: i thank you God for most this amazing day. It makes those moments just that much sweeter.

As for adjusting to cabin life, I'm beginning to accept that this is my new normal, and I'm excited about this new phase of my life. I still get overwhelmed about all the work that goes into cabin ownership (ie: mowing the lawn, cleaning cobwebs, cutting down trees, killing lots of mice), but my learning curve was steep. I'm starting to get it, and I'm starting to consider myself part of the cabin culture. I'm even more excited that our loved ones can enjoy it with us, and that someday, our kids will grow up coming here in the summer. This will be their normal. That blows my mind. God is good, and life is sweet.

Here's to many more amazing days and little blessings.

<3 Mrs. G


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