Stand by Me

Can you think of the most intense moment of your life? It’s hard, I know. Our lives should be full of these moments. They make us feel things we never thought possible; help us extract our deepest hopes and desires; give us a glimpse into the truest versions of ourselves. Living life without intensity is like reading a dictionary. All the words have definitions and everything may make sense on its own, but if you were to read it cover to cover, it wouldn’t come together like a story. It needs depth, a plot, moments. Moments of intensity. Those are the glue that hold our stories together and give them meaning. I had one such moment early on in my volunteering career at the hospital. I will never forget it.

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Working as a child life specialist will indubitably present me with many difficult situations which I must learn to work through. I am going into this fully aware that this isn’t easy work. I know that I am going to have days where I want to give up, but the bottom line is that this is something that I really care about and gives me great joy to do, and that is what will keep me going. I have had so many amazing experiences with the children in the hospital including lots of dance parties, craft sessions, and high-fives. But, I have also had my fair share of struggles and have dealt with some very unhappy children. One such child was known by the entire staff to be very temperamental and the child life specialists always warned volunteers of this before having them attempt to try their luck with this child—let’s call her Sam for identity-concealing purposes.

I entered the room slowly as not to startle her and ease her into the process of becoming acquainted with yet another stranger with a mask entering her room. She was watching a television show and some people would have taken this as a sign to sit on the other side of the room and let her be, but I could see that she was on the verge of tears and was clearly having a tough day, so I knelt by her bedside and tried to engage her a bit. All of my questions, no matter what they were, were answered with a moaning “noooooo,” so I decided that maybe it was best not to make her talk if she didn’t want to. I then moved across to the other side of the room to see how she would react to that because it seemed like she really wanted nothing to do with me, and was surprised when this was met by an increase in exasperation and tears. Next, I tried moving to a chair closer to her bed, but not right next to her so as to give her some space, but this, regrettably, did not make things any better. The only thing that seemed to calm her down was when I knelt next to her bed, silently. So, despite the cramping in my knees, this is where I spent the next hour: close enough in presence for her to know that I was there, but quiet enough that she didn’t have to exert any effort towards answering questions or offering reactions her confused and frustrated little mind didn’t know how to approach.

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I came to learn that Sam had a pretty tough life and dealt with a mother who neglected her and fought constantly with her step-father in front of her, a grandmother who took any and every opportunity to get out of the room and away from her, and little or no support during such a difficult time in her life. I could tell by the way she stared at me with her dark, conflicted eyes, that all this child wanted was someone to show her some love and compassion. Sometimes all kids (and adults, for that matter) need is to know that someone is there. Perhaps they aren’t ready to open up and share their feelings with you at that time, but having someone by their side while they fight through the tangled vines in their mind, gives them a sense of comfort and some sort of stability during what seems like a hopeless time.

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Locking eyes with that child was an immensely intense experience that I will never forget. It was as if she was peering into my soul, searching for goodness and meaning, and trying to figure out if I was someone who could be trusted. I think the kindness in my eyes put her at ease for the time I spent with her, but can only hope that she has been met with enough heartening hazels and blissful blues to help her begin to solve the painful puzzle that is her life.

That moment touched something inside me.  1…2…3…Intensity! That was a cheer we used to shout to motivate us before field hockey games. I loved playing hockey and always left everything I had on the field, but now I know what real intensity feels like. I felt it in that room, in those eyes.

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So, in what moments have you encountered true intensity? Think about it.

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A Song for Boston

Here’s a little adaptation of Boston’s song to help get them through this tough week. Stay strong, Boston! We are all behind you.

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A Song for Boston:

Where it began,

Runners were in a scurry

A blessed day had gone awry

 

Was in the spring

And spring became much colder

Now all we hear are tortured cries

 

Hands, touchin’ hands

 Reachin’ out, touchin’ me touchin’ you

 Sweet Caroline

 Help us find our good times now

 

It’s hard to smile

But our town has made a vow

 

But now I, look at the cold

 And it don’t seem so frigid

 Our Boston Red is shining through.

 

 And when I hurt,

 Hurtin’ runs off my shoulders

 How can I hurt when I’m with you

 

Warm, touchin’ warm

 Reachin’ out, touchin’ me touchin’ you

 Sweet Caroline

 Help us find our good times now

 

It’s hard to smile

But our town has made a vow

 

Sweet Caroline

Help us find our good times now

 Sweet Caroline,

 ‘Cause our town has made a vow

 Sweet Caroline………

 

And I guess I can’t hate the Yankees THAT much after this…

http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/yankees/stadium_pays_tribute_to_wounded_SsL1GLftwwwO8bUUunNl4K

 

It’s great to see everyone coming together and supporting one another during such difficult times.

 

 

 

 

 

Ten Seconds to Live

One…two…three…four…five…six…seven…eight…nine…ten. In the time it just took you to read that, Rob London could be dead. Ten seconds. Ten seconds to live. And counting.

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So, how does the story end? Does the hourglass run out? No. It is flipped over and the sand renews its path thanks to freshman at the time, Ryan Segar who came to London’s aid just in time to save his life.

Read the background story here:

http://articles.courant.com/2005-05-03/news/0505030480_1_health-class-arm-doctors

I chose to share this story today for a few reasons. The first is that Ryan is my brother and today, on his birthday, I wanted to express to him how proud I will always be of him for this. I also felt it appropriate to share an inspirational story which shows goodness in mankind in order to ease a bit of the pain that has come from today’s horrific events at the Boston Marathon. A friend of mine posted the below quote said by someone who was a role model to many of us throughout our childhoods, Mister Rogers:

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One of the main reasons I started this blog was to bring to light the stories about the “helpers” in our world. Yes, it is true that a lot of scary and unnerving things go on around us. I used to be afraid of the news when I was a child as well. I didn’t even want to be in the same room when it was on the television. This is mostly because the media focuses more on the catastrophic events and less on the stories that show acts of courage, kindness, and charity. I guess, in a way, this is a good sign. They only have an hour to do the news and there is no possible way they’d be able to fit all the good that goes on each day into any one segment. So, although it may take a little more searching to find them, they’re there. All around us. Every second of every day. One…two…three…four…five…six…seven…eight…nine…ten. Ten seconds just passed. That’s enough time to hold open the door for a stranger. Or, put a smile on the face of a friend who is having a bad day. Or even, save a life. Don’t waste another second being afraid of the bad. Strength relies not in what you have, but what you can give. Give good seconds and the world will only grow to be a stronger place.

 

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Happy Birthday to a wonderful big brother and role model. I hope your story can bring others as much inspiration as it has to me. Thank you for being a “helper” and a reason to have faith in humanity.

 

My thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the Boston Marathon explosions.

The Miracle Water Village

Ever have trouble filling your water bottle up at the gym? That’s me. All the time. I buy those fancy indestructible water bottles with the giant lids but always end up forgetting I have them and taking a plastic bottle instead and we all know those aren’t ideal matches for water fountains. First, you have the issue of leaning over at the exact right angle to get the bottle to the spout and I always get stuck at the child fountain and I mean, there are no children attending my spin classes so I’m trying to figure out why these fountains still exist in every gym. Can’t we just make them both the same height? Don’t get me wrong, I love kids, but this isn’t Gymboree. Then there’s the issue of lining that tiny little bottle opening up with the spout and you don’t want to put it too close that it touches (bleck! people could have put their mouths on that…right?!), but also don’t want to put it so far away that you miss it and the water flops onto your hand. Most of the time I end up getting a really good run for a while and then BOOM my hand slips and water bottle and hand go down, hit the metal base and hilarity ensues for the people in the line that has inevitably formed behind me. Most days I walk away a scanty quarter-bottle fuller and two points down on the dignity scale.

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This is all funny to think about for us because we’ve got this endless supply of water and my butterfingers don’t have an adverse effect on the people who try to get water after me. But, what if that wasn’t the case? What if every time someone fumbled with a water bottle and some of the water was poured down the drain, it meant one less meal for a family? Imagine water being so precious that even one wasted drop would mean bad things for not just you, but everyone in your village. This is what many villages around the world face every single day. Drought. And, in turn, trying to figure out how to grow crops with no water.

Here’s the inspirational story of Hiware Bazar, a drought-prone village in India who came together as a community to turn themselves into a self-sufficient agricultural oasis. This is a must-watch video which teaches us the true meaning of being in control of our own circumstances rather than letting our circumstances control us:

 

 

The story of Hiware Bazar shows us that with hard work and perseverance as well as teamwork and strategic planning, anything is possible. Under the leadership of Popatrao Pawar, this village was able to pull itself out of a drought and become a flourishing, successful society. They teach us that you get nowhere by passively accepting your circumstances. If that was the case, the village would still be barren and uninhabited. As Mohan, a member of the village council said in the video, “This water miracle can happen to any village in the world…if only people truly believe that they can make it happen.” I think this is the perfect quote to end on because it not only summarizes the video and its meaning perfectly but it also serves as wise advice for anything you may face in life. Anything is possible if you only believe you can truly make it happen.