As children look around them to base their behavior, adults too subconsciously compare ourselves. Our successes, our failures, our accomplishments. The trick to doing this productively is by turning down the volume on pride, covetousness, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth, and turning up the volume on chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility.
You don’t have to be any religion to agree with virtues and ethics. You don’t have to subscribe to a pre-set notion to follow morals and love. You just have to be willing to stand up for what is right, even if you stand alone.
I discuss sometimes, in the raindrops of ideas that turn into lakes and tangled rivers, what would we be like if we could use to our own benefit the mistakes of others. How efficient would it be to just trust that someone had good advice. How do you chose who to trust?
Just as children have to calculate whom to trust, and make their own algorithm based on their experience, we calculate based on societal definitions of success, and our own myriad of mistakes.
As I navigate the adult world, and strive to be as full of life as possible, I have to make calculations. Time isn’t mine to hold, its free flowing, unable to be held by man. Time is not waiting for me, it moves on if I chose to dance or not. I have to maximize this time in this body, in this form, doing this work, because as we can all agree, there might not always be a tomorrow. The dance always continues with or without you. The music plays on for the living to hear, and your work helps to progress the music, or perhaps doesn’t impact it at all. This is your decision.
I learn to trust people who tell me what they believe by SHOWING me. I learn to trust, like children do, through consistency and accuracy to your word. You cannot hide dishonesty to yourself for very long. This is how all the cliches emerged. Sometimes your life takes smooth glides and turns, and sometimes you have to stop dead and change your direction. Which ever it is, follow your heart, but listen to your mind, and leave behind those unwilling to dance.
As I sit in my living room, after working 12 ½ hours, after putting to bed 5 kids, and following emails and message boards to help get 112 kids from Ukraine to America smoothly, all I can hear is the orchestra. In an orchestra you can choose what to hear. You can hear the entire violin section, and if you really focus, you can hear that one violin among the entire performance. When you focus closely on the lone violin, it doesn’t make the orchestra stop playing. It doesn’t mean they played more quietly. It doesn’t mean your experience was the same as the person sitting next to you, although you shared the same time. It means you focused on a small piece of a very big dance of breaths, and fingers, and hearts. As you focus on the one violin the rest of the orchestra goes on without you. You will never rewind this moment in real time again. Time moves on without you. Not making a decision IS a decision. As I sit here right now, after a terrible night with a cranky toddler, foggy from lack of sleep, I run through the orchestra of retrieving 112 orphans who deserve this chance, watching to see if everyone is playing in time. I am new to this and I watch my mentors seamlessly pull off miracles that seemed impossible only a few short months ago. They do the impossible, and they move the mountains with grace and love.
My friends have taught me many things in such a short time. They have taught me to organize notes in a way I had no experience. They taught me patience, and kindness, and temperance. They taught me selflessness and cheered me on as I struggled. They taught me because I was willing to listen. I am successful because I chose to trust. It has nothing to do with religion, and everything to do with love. It is impossible to teach someone to organize an orchestra when they cannot lead one section. I have watched the most beautiful pieces of music ever be created, and I’m in tears as we crescendo.
This very moment my mentors dance late into the night. They do this because we have staccatos and slurs to write into this song before it can end. They do it, like I do, after a long day of running their own lives, yet they catch planes, and make calls, and answer endless texts and emails while sending all the glory to the team. Not one team member I have met works through this labor and accepts acknowledgement or spotlight. They have shown me chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility.
This is a place I never want to leave. Yet time is fluid and it weaves in and out through my fingers like sand. I cannot hold it, I cannot stop it, I cannot do anything but release my tears to the river of thoughts as this beautiful orchestra plays late into the night toward its crescendo of airport arrivals.
Thank you to the team for allowing me to sit in and be surrounded by the most beautiful music I’ve ever known.
Thank you Host Ukraine.
Stephanie is a nurse, advocate, mother, and learner. Learn more about the Howe family Here.