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