Someone close to me once opined that a person does not merely believe in something, but lives for something. I had trouble with this idea because it does not seem so long ago that I struggled with my demons, with hopelessness, with despair.
I spent years denying what I felt. I spent years huddled in a figurative corner. I spent years estranged from true happiness. And then, I found this poem:
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
-Mary Elizabeth Frey
A lot changed when I first read this poem. This poem, to me, is not about death. It is not about an end, or bereavement, or the afterlife. It is about finding affirmation in the now. It is about living your life fully, day to day. It is about creating a life in the moments between the moments, in the details that often go overlooked. It is about reaching a little higher, walking just a little further, each and every day.
I want to recognize the winds that blow and the diamond glints on snow. I want to find myself in the sun on grain and the gentle autumn rain. And when I go to bed and reflect on everything that has happened during the day, I want to feel that inner sanctification that can only be found in making the sun shine a little brighter for yourself.
See, life is not just about wanting something to happen or believing there is something better out there. It is about an active participation in the search for meaning, constantly developing and progressing. The willingness to talk, to create, and to learn defines our being. The idea of living for something enlists the very essence of passion—of love—and inspires effort to spend each and every day chasing a dream of serenity.
Ah, yes, serenity. I draw a clear distinction between a dream of serenity and a dream of happiness or excitement because there is something truly magnificent and meaningful about chasing inner peace and inner satisfaction, in every moment.
I want to truly live, to be free to fly above the chaos and pain. It is this desire to liberate myself that helps me accept the challenges of life and beat them back with words. Because of words, I connect with people, and there is not a single impossible thing in this world if we have others in our corner.
It was this life-altering realization that led me to To Write Love On Her Arms to be an intern this summer. I’ve always said TWLOHA is like a waiting room. Many have written that it is a bridge to help, and I agree. We seek to “inspire, educate, and encourage.”
I want to be in your corner. I want you to feel alive every day. To wake up each morning and lead a more fulfilling life in which you see yourself—and others as well—grow, and smile, and dream. To reach a little higher, walk a little further. To love every second because you are living your passion. My passion is the continued effort of actively making my life better; I want the same for you.
I want you to live.
Summer 2013 intern
You have no idea how much I needed to read this today. 🙂
Thank you for sharing!
I needed this so much today thank you.
I really, really needed this since I’ve had a really bad day. This makes me look differently at life. I’m glad I read it!!
Thankyou:) I needed this!
I have had the privilege of knowing Connor for years. His words are sincere, and his heart is big. Learning to love yourself and live a fulfilling life can be a tall, overwhelming order. It is wonderful to know there are people and places that understand this challenge. Every life is important and meaningful. Every life will make an impression on someone else in this world. Dare to “truly live!” You deserve it!!!
You are truly a great person you have no idea how much this meant to me :,)
Thank you for this. Really. Thank you.
You speak beauty. <3
Thank you. This means so much to me; it’s unbelievable.
This was very much needed. Thank you.
II’vefound my “knight”, he shared this with me today. He is teaching me I am worthy of love. I’ll never forget these words. Ever. Thank you Christopher.
Some words that Oscar Wilde said, run through my head each day, challenging me to evaluate my thoughts and actions “The rearest thing in the world is to live, most people exist – that is all”
what does this mean for the christian?
Gentle words, filled with love and hope. Just what our world needs. I suport you and thank you for work.
I needed this inspiration & that poem! I’ve struggled almost my whole life with depression and suicidal thoughts (and a few tries), I’m finally starting the process to heal but recent suicides is dampening my spirit at times. Thank you! ♡
I’m beyond grateful to know you can put into words what my heart longs to say . I want to live I want you in my corner / thank you !
“Beat them back with words.” – Nice way of putting it. I think many people have been beaten down with words; and the only way to lift them back up again, is also with words. This is definitely inspiring – it inspires me to write more so the people who read my words will be uplifted. Thank you.
This is so beautiful and so needed right now i have been in this dark space and this is like a ray of sun shinning through. So thank you for writing this.
Connor, thank you so much for taking the time to write this. I definitely need it right now. This poem, I can tell, is going to help get me though the tough days! Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for sharing this everyone.
Thank you for reminding me of why I’m here. I forgot and then I read this from your perspective and now I remember. Thank you.
Thank you for sharing this it makes me hopeful in my journey to find serenity within my own life xx
Thank you!! I really needed to read this. I love that poem. I sang an arrangement of it with my choir a few years ago and it will always be one of my favourite choir pieces! It’s a wonderful reminder of all the little things that are so easy to miss.
This gives me hope….i love TWLOHA
i’ve been getting ‘bad’ again for months now, and nobody has known what to say, but you got it exactly right. i didn’t know how badly i needed to hear this until now. thank you- so, so much.
I wish I could have shown this to my cousin before he lost his life to suicide, just twelve days ago. I feel like this could have been that article that changed his mind; made him think twice about his decision that has affected more than just his friends and family, but our community, our city. People who didn’t even know him have been affected greatly by this lose of ours and it’s made me think twice about each and every one of my actions. Reading this made me realize how much more I want to live my life for God and bring others to recovery before it’s to late. I want to help make a change and this has given me that push I needed. So beautiful. Thank you!
Just what I needed to read. Someone I know is struggling and I so badly want to help. When the time is right, I will show her this blog. Rescue is possible xx
Thank you, this was a beautiful way to begin my day.
I really needed to read this today. Thank you so much
I didnt know how badly i needed to read this. Things have been getting worse again and im more alone than i ever way before and reading this helped me so much and just thank you so so much. I love TWLOHA and this made me love it even more. Thanks for giving me exactly what i needed.
The title of your journal entry immediately grabbed my attention, there was someone out there, a stranger, who wanted me to live. I’ve been feeling like I’ve been alive but not really living for the past couple of years and it’s hard to go through everyday like that. Your words give me hope to turn things around and really give my life purpose. For so long I’ve been trying to make sure everyone else was okay, except for me. I’m filled with so much hope after reading this and I know that things will get better. My heart isn’t filled with dark empty holes anymore, it’s filled with hope that I never thought I would have.
Pingback: For Our Summer Interns: A “See You Later.” « TWLOHA
This hit hard! I truly needed to read this today! It is so true that we need to strive for happiness by way of selfcare and self love. Thank you fir making my day just a little better!