The Little Sister

I'm a little sister.

I've taken my fair share of lumps, bumps, and bruises. (Well, let's see…there was an entire year that my older sister was obsessed with determining if I could break my arm in more weird and wonderful ways [falling from the monkey bars, having it run over by a Barbie Power Wheels…]) etc.

And while I would love to expound on all the divisive ways my older sister chose to torture me, I have to say that I have never, ever been so tortured as when I had to see her in pain.

I have a frequent flyers number for my hospital stays; I'm extremely familiar with IVs, blood tubes, and tourniquets.

But it is very rare that I am at the hospital with someone who isn't me.

Enter my sister's routine leg surgery to repair her ACL. All the sudden, she's this little person in a huge hospital bed with a hair net on, crying about how scared and overwhelmed she is.

I can honestly say that I've never felt more helpless. (Even when I was laying prostrate on the grass, waiting for that Barbie Power Wheels to run over my arm.) I couldn't do anything to help her pain or to alleviate her fear.

And then I thought, she must worry about me like this all of the time. And because I am the little sister, as you may also confirm if you also have a sibling, it took me until just now to put myself in her shoes in that way. (Hey, we mean well, but sometimes the younger ones can be a bit self-centered.) Especially if we have a sister as awesome as I do, who is always watching out for me.

So, if you have a sibling, try to give them a hug tonight. Remind them that there is no one like them in your life, and while it hasn't always been perfect between you two, you've got nothing but love for them.

Own What You Love, Love What You Own

I was going to write about something else, but I have something to say. I can almost hear the digital pixels click on my computer screen, as the cursor waits for me to push and shove it along. And it’s funny, how I’ve been uninspired to write this blog all week, and yet here I am, putting two and two together, and putting fingers to keys, and putting thoughts to the world. I had an agenda tonight, but I decided to discard it. Instead, I am going to start my blog post by offering an observation:

I’m not sure that anyone knows what love is anymore.

Think about it. What do you love? And what kind of love do you love it with? Is it a shallow love with thin, hairy roots? Or is it a deep, booming love, like when you drop a stone down a large hole to hear it strike against the sides and echo back up? Do you love things? Do you love material objects? And I’m not saying the shiny Mercedes parked in your driveway or the lavish house you live in. Do you love books? Do you love songs? These may not be the typical objects that you may think of when you think someone is being materialistic, but they still implie materialism. These things still tie you to the earth and the human experience.

In some way, you love these things because you own them. You love books. You may not own the book itself, but you own the story inside it after you’ve read it, in your consciousness. You love songs. You may not own the melody and the lyrics, or earn royalties every time it’s played, but you own your memory of songs. You own the feelings associated with the band, the lead singer, and the live concert you attended. Without knowing you, I know that you do not love death, and that you do not love disappointment, and that you do not love sadness. Not because these things are inherently bad, but because they are universal, and you do not own them. When death, disappointment, and sadness have left their mark, they leave to mar another. We cannot own them. We have to share them. And only by sharing them can we piece together the full mosaic of human experience.

But you can own love. In fact, we must own what we love, and we must love what we own.

And now you are saying, “But everyone has experienced happiness, people can share their happiness and love it, too.” But that isn’t true. If you are talking about two people in love, two people on their wedding day, they are happy to be with the other person, yes, and they own their happiness in that way. But they do not own the other person’s happiness, and so they cannot love one another. You can’t love what you can’t own in some way.

When we love other people, we must give little bits of ourselves to them. We don’t get these bits back, but we don’t want them returned either, because they’ve taken on a new shape in the other’s person hands. They get mangled or dinged. They get soaked or burned. They get coddled and stroked. We would not recognize the little bits we give to other people because they are simply not ours anymore.

So, how do we rediscover what love means in our lives? We have to play by love’s rules. We have to own what we love. If you love the present moment you will own the present moment, and you will be able to move freely within it. If you love your body, you will own your body, and it will not have the power it sometimes wields over your mind.

If you love with the intent of ownership, there will be no room for death, disappointment, or sadness.

I’m young, but I’ve seen people forget how to do things out of love, how to move out of love, how to love out of love. We somehow get buried under too many bills, too many “no’s,” and far too many promises of tomorrow.

But if you give little bits of yourself away to everyone you meet, little handfuls for people to own, cherish, and destroy, you will know love and you will be, ironically, full.