Greetings to you on this fine Friday! Why the stop sign you might ask? It isn’t particularly beautiful, I know. But it is fitting! Have you had times in your life when experiences rise up and make you literally stop in your tracks in order to pay closer attention? Well…that is where I am currently. Hence, the stop sign. Many of my shares this week stem from this PAUSE of sorts.
And Spring? I am not done with you yet! There is such a hopefulness about spring. I am taking it all in. The birds chirping. The flowers bursting with scent and bloom. The lushness of new leaves. The generous sunlight. Life is indeed a gift.
For Your Heart and Humanity
A friend I know has been in the hospital for nearly a month now. She felt a sudden deluge of symptoms come over her like a storm and promptly went to the emergency room. Just like that, she was admitted for having acute myeloid leukemia. Chelsea Robarge Fife is meeting this life challenge much like she lives her daily life– with full intentionality, unwavering strength, and a determinedly open heart. I have been following her journey here. Isn’t it just like her to be working in her three-mile walks amidst being prodded, needled, medicined, and scanned each day? Life is fragile and uncertain for all of us. That is one thing we all share. In one of Chelsea’s latest Instagram updates, she tells us how the platelets other humans willingly donated are keeping her alive. We see a yellow-ish bag of platelets hanging from a metal pole off to the side. In a message, Chelsea shares the insight:
My heart is pumping with the blood of people whose lives are a mystery to me, except for knowing that they are good and kind and altruistic, because they shared themselves with me. In a strange way, there is a beautiful richness to this difficult experience in that I am moving through it with friends I’ve never met and likely never will. But we’re connected now and they have become a part of me (quite literally).
Chelsea Robarge Fife
Leukemia has shown up in another person I love. My dear cousin, Valerie Palms Milner. I am stunned every time cancer shows up in the middle of a life in motion. I am being vulnerable here. I do feel stunned. Because in my mind, the women seem too young or too healthy. They are too fully empowered or aware or too bursting with energy and vigor— to get sick. Of course, that is the myth — because it happens all the time.
On Monday morning, I will be heading to ARUP Blood Services here in Utah to take a “trolley test” to see if I can donate my platelets. It has been a long while since I have donated blood. It is definitely time.
I think we are all better for the moments we stop to acknowledge the fragility we walk with as we breathe and love and sleep each day. How connected we are in that fragility. Maybe, for now, we are the ones who offer a blood donation because we can. But we also know full well that life will (in time) likely offer us our own experience of suffering too–because that is what it means to be alive. And in our time of need, we will have to summon our inner resolve to face what we must–with what we have–with whoever shows up to rally with us and witness our hour of vulnerability. On Monday, I will do something small. I know it is small. But I will show up. And I will think of Chelsea and Valerie when I do.
For Your Relationship
I have been a fan of Alain de Botton for a couple of years now. For those of you who don’t know him, Alain de Botton is a philosopher and the author of many good books. He started The School of Life which is like an education center that offers guidance and education around relationships, work, and life. You can watch some School of Life videos on YouTube here. You will find topics like Why We Pick Difficult Partners or How Emotionally Healthy Are You? Short and engaging, right? But what I am sharing today is an interview Alain de Botton did with Krista Tippet on the podcast, OnBeing called The True Hard Work of Love and Relationships. I found Alain’s perspective on personal relationships to be so refreshing and countercultural in the best way. Give it a listen! He is a gift. (I did not love the public discourse discussion at the end of the interview quite as much. FYI. Full disclosure!)
For Your Eating Pleasure
I am back with some eating goodness. What can I say? I do love food. In a world that is constantly changing, food is refreshingly constant. Lately, I have been getting back to the avocado… with guacamole. But hold up…it is time for a little avocado variety. So what we have is avocado toast! Ta-da! So simple. So deceptively unexciting. Am I right? But wait, you must try it! Just take half an avocado. Mash it. Add a bit of fresh lemon. Salt and pepper to taste. Add it to your favorite toast. My preferred bread lately is Dave’s Killer Bread found here. The thin slicing makes the toast so crispy and well…not too heavy. Delish. Enjoy! Not eating bread? Is gluten your enemy?
That is okay–I have another idea for you! Get some fresh asparagus. Cut off the reed-y parts of the stems. Lightly brush the asparagus with a bit of olive oil. Roast in the oven in a shallow pan (like a jelly roll pan) at 425 degrees until crispy. Take out of the oven. Slice a lemon. Squeeze the juice over the top of the asparagus. Salt and pepper as desired. Definitely eat the asparagus off the pan with your fingers. For sure!
For Those Who Have Known Loss (Or Have Lost Themselves)
Red Table Talk is a video series made by Jada Pinkett Smith– with her daughter, Willow and her mother, Adrienne. In the show, three generations of women (Jada, Adrienne, and Willow) sit together and communicate openly about vulnerable topics. I might recommend you skip the first part of this video (if you like) as Jada learns about the loss of a friend in real time. It just feels like more of a private moment. They do eventually turn off the cameras anyway (at Jada’s request). This conversation is great at modeling emotional safety (in my humble opinion). Notice how validating they are– in their body language, the sounds they make, facial expressions, and language. When Jada speaks of losing herself amidst motherhood, I could feel so many women speaking through her.
If you do listen or try any of these shares, I would love to hear what you think. Truly. And I would love to hear some of your shares for this week too. Big or small. What has been lighting you up?