Tag Archives: truth

Stretch

Last night I had a really meaningful conversation with my twin sister about the passing of our brother. You see, he passed away a few years ago – January 11, 2018 will be the four-year mark – and more often than not I live in a state of disbelief that he’s really gone.

We were frustrated in our conversation, wishing the old pictures we saw of him and of us together didn’t have to be blacklisted as “the last photo we took together”. To have a “last” of something so precious is always a tough pill to swallow.

“These two months are the hardest ‘stretch’ of time – every little thing can just trigger us to tears,” we said.

“It’s such a time of extreme highs and lows,” we said.

“I just miss him so much,” we cried.

Eventually our anger turned into exhaustion and we decided to say our I love yous and end the call. We still texted each other afterward, because a phone call followed-up with an “I love you” text is commonplace in the Costello household. We have a lot of love for one another.

And all of that love is what makes this two-month “stretch” leading up to and after his passing that much harder. We love him so much. Not loved. Not past-tense. Present. Love.

But as I was making a cup of coffee at work today, trying to get through this busy “stretch” of time right up to the holidays, I had that little light bulb go off. You know – the one that illuminates and shifts your perspective just a bit.

I realized that everyone has a difficult “stretch” of time in their life, and maybe even one that reoccurs the same time each year. Whether it’s the passing of a loved one that you just wish didn’t exist, those exhausting times at work where you know you’re burning the candle on both ends, or just adapting to a change that maybe you didn’t see coming.

We all have low periods of time that push us, bend us, break us, and make us stretch.

But here’s the good news.

When you push yourself to stretch amidst grief and chaos, good things are bound to happen. Because stretching results in improvement, refinement, and yes, even growth.

 

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This is water

As a recent college graduate, and someone who was fortunate enough to give the undergraduate student commencement speech on behalf of my graduating class, I can vouch for two things: it is difficult to contrive a speech that will resonate with a large and diverse audience, and it is difficult to sit through a speech that does not. I stumbled upon the 2005 Kenyon College commencement speech and was so captivated by the message that I felt it necessary to share.

I promise you it is worth watching the short video in its entirety. You can find it at the bottom of this post. Here is a short excerpt:

“If you want to operate on your default settings then you, like me, probably won’t consider possibilities that aren’t annoying and miserable. But if you really learn how to think, how to pay attention, then you will know you have other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that lit the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.

Not that that mystical stuff’s necessarily true. The only thing that’s capital T-True is that you get to decide how you’re going to try to see it. This, I submit, is the freedom of real education. Of learning how to be well-adjusted. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t. That is real freedom … None of this stuff is really about morality or religion or dogma or big fancy questions of life after death. The capital T-Truth is about life before death.”

 

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