I laughed and wept, both alternately and simultaneously, as I read Angie Thomas’s
For a couple years now, I’ve witnessed as names become hashtags. I’ve seen people killed twice over:
when breath was stolen
from their bodies;
when their lives were stolen,
too, swept away by words like
“no angel” or “drug dealer” or “thug,”
as if an entire life
is worth no more
than its worst
I’ve understood how a person, once painted an “offender,” is seldom understood as worth one more thought. I’ve struggled to explain how
each life taken
is a loss insufferable,
a. loss. of. a. whole. life.
(that could have been anything)
When I read the fictional-but-not-really-fictional, staggering, powerful The Hate U Give, my whole body sighed. I saw that this is how people understand the life behind the death; the years of needless hate behind a moment’s sanctioned bullets.
While this exact Khalil never lived in this flesh-and-blood world, he lived in a heart that bled onto pages. Those pages are now being read by thousands upon thousands of people. And this Khalil, though he lives in heart and page, represents many who lived
Once upon a time, each of these people lived and laughed and cried and yearned. Their ability to do these things ever again was stolen from them, but you and I? By remembering them, we can change the world.
By remembering them, we can
Many thanks to Alison Doherty for the recommendation
A few months ago, my family happened across a used bookstore that was going out of business. The store’s lovely, kid-friendly owners couldn’t afford the rent, which had just been jacked up something like 50%.
My husband, sons, and I bought a couple of boxes full of books that day. Before we left, my husband signed up for the owners’ school book fair mailing list. It’s a good thing he did, too!
A few days ago, he got a great email about the bookstore. First, there’d been such an outpouring of love for Camelot Books, its owners had decided to open up shop somewhere else a few months down the road. The store wouldn’t be closing down for good. Woo-hoo!
Second, there wouldn’t be enough space to store their inventory in the meantime. With thousands of books still left, the real sale had begun!
My family and I returned to the store yesterday, eventually leaving with one enormous box of books for only about fifty dollars. We left, too, with memories of another hour spent surrounded by books, love, and each other … and the elation of knowing this bookstore will continue, and with it a joy that has little to do with physical location.
I wrote about priorities last week; specifically, I wrote about embracing the idea that many things aren’t priorities for me. Very few things are.
Since then, I’ve quietly considered my priorities. “Being online” isn’t one of them. This doesn’t mean I won’t ever be online. Rather, it means I have to be conscientious about the time I do spend online. I figure I have about 30 minutes a day before its opportunity costs–what I’ve sacrificed in my offline life to be online–outweigh its benefits.
Does this sound restrictive? It feels very much the opposite: freeing! Putting a boundary around my online time gives me the peace of mind to really settle into the physical world. For six months or so, I forgot how to do that. My whole world was reading (and writing) politics online almost incessantly, the better to understand heartbreaking, systemic political truths I’d never seen while simply skating over the surface of politics.
Sustaining relentless online time meant sacrificing time for things in the physical world that sustain my soul. This includes playing with my kids, snuggling and talking with my husband, walking, running, reading books for the pleasure of it, washing dishes, folding laundry, pausing to murmur a prayer of thanks, being fully in my rockin’ work, singing to musicals as I commute, picking up fistfuls of dirt and watching as it drifts through my fingers back to Earth, and sitting down face-to-face with friends.
I can’t spend too much more time writing about this. I’ve already used a good chunk of my time online today writing here, which is silly since this is all preface for a 7-minute video I recorded yesterday!
Day by day, I’m prioritizing better … and, as I think you’ll see if you watch the video below, it feels great.
Yesterday, I read my two-year-old a children’s book about killer whales. I couldn’t help smiling while I read.
As an eighteen-year-old, I’d researched killer whales from islands in British Columbia. As a thirty-eight-year old, I read about them to my own little boy a couple thousand miles away from where I’d once watched in awe as they played.
I was able to read Littler J the book because of bookstore’s going-out-of-business sale. My husband and I picked up two boxes full of delightful reads. We’ll be busy for months, just from those books!
There’s knowledge and (with introspection) wisdom alike to be gained from books; I found bunches of both in another of the books I picked up on Saturday.
When you and I read, listen, and seek information no matter the obstacles, we are mighty.