There will be more than one arc to this magnificent thing we call life. There will be bad moments, and these will give way to the good ones. There will be sad tears that will become happy, and there will be dark days that will produce much lighter ones. There will be pain, but it will come before progress. There will be fear, only to yield hope.
What is heavy can one day be helped by what is light.
But most of all, I hope you know, that there will always be stories. And there will always be people living and sharing and loving these stories.
This past Saturday, I had the humbling pleasure of attending HEAVY AND LIGHT in Orlando, FL. It was a night for young and old and everyone in between. It was a night for the fighters and the survivors, for the friends and the lovers. It was a night for us, for the people living and sharing and loving their stories.
It was a night of songs. Artists came out in turn, contributing lyrics to the soundtrack of our lives. They worked together to create the foundation of a story far greater than any single act could provide. Their collective voices opened our hearts and minds to the beauty and love we feel but maybe cannot express or see as often as we would like.
It was a night of conversation. Words, used in different ways, strung together the hopes and wills and strengths of each person in the room. Words, delivered with absolute honesty and care for the ears they would fall upon, carried weight and purpose.
It was a night of hope. Even though hope is no new feeling, its beauty comes in its ability to be discovered over and over, again and again. It comes in our willingness to search for more. In each song, poem, speech, adult, teen, and toddler, this hope could be found.
I was filled again and again with hope, with each return more and more powerful. And as the tears of honest love for my own life ran down my face, I spent less time looking at the stage. There were tears like mine flowing from places that sometimes feel so elusive. There were hands holding other hands, embracing each other so tightly, and letting every beautiful thing about each person flow into each other. There were hundreds of voices screaming each and every word to songs clenched so close to the hearts and souls of each person surrounding me.
My tears and your tears became our tears. My stories and your stories became our stories. We came to remember how prevalent the great gift of hope is in our lives, how permeating and transformational it is.
We became one voice, one heart, and one soul. Poet, musician, toddler, leader, speaker, audience member—our titles and roles did not, do not, matter. We are all just people. People who, throughout the night, became part of something so much bigger and more whole.
As the show drew to a close, and as the artists and audience combined to perform the encore, the people in that room extended a sea of hands in unison; they were attempting to embrace that hope and love, attempting to rediscover that joy one more time. When the performers finally walked off stage and into the night, we joined them.
For one night, a few hundred people lived a story that exemplifies so much of the beauty in this world. On this one night in Orlando, we were reborn into hope and love, and we looked upon our new lives with wide eyes. It was all we knew. It is now our responsibility to go forward and rediscover this hope and love alongside others—to show them just how beautiful the light can be if we can only learn to share the burden of the heavy.
I hope you live long and get to experience every beautiful arc there is, every happy tear, moment, and day.
I hope we, the people around you, holding your hand and loving every part of you, get to see this happen.
You were made to walk through this life.
Thanks for joining me as I walk through mine.