Friday, August 31, 2012

Hide and Seek

A lot of people don't like to be photographed. During a trip in Northern California earlier this year, I learned that some dogs feel similarly.

Meet Brigitta, or at least her back end.

I won't mention here where Brigitta lives or to whom she belongs to (just in case her cuteness inspires you to dog-knap her). But, I will say that she happens to be the cutest, most lively photo subject I've ever tried to photograph.

During my short visit, I attempted multiple times to photograph her with my digital camera. The minute she saw it appear, Brigitta would disappear.

Finally, I thought I outsmarted her by using my iPhone camera to take her picture. As you can see in today's photograph, I think that she caught on that I wasn't "texting" on my phone and took a dive under my friend's coffee table just as I clicked the shutter button.

Next time, Brigitta. Next time.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Big Love

Yesterday, someone on Pinterest pinned a quote from one of the Lord of the Rings movies that made me pause. The post depicted Cate Blanchett's character Galadriel saying, "Even the smallest person can change the course of the future." While Galadriel was referring to the fictional and height-challenged hobbits, I'm blessed to know real people who illustrate Galadriel's prophecy.

Five years ago today, a little baby's passing changed my life.

Ella and I never met. She was the first child of one of my dearest childhood friends who lived in California while I was living here on the East Coast. Ella was small and beautiful, and unfortunately, came into the world with a sick heart. She wasn't the first little one in my life to pass away too soon; my baby cousin Justin unexpectedly passed when he was just a few months old as well. Even Ella's big spirit couldn't overcome her frail body.

While we never met, I felt as if I knew Ella. I grew to know her through photographs and email updates from her parents and grandparents. I grew to know her through the little anecdotes and stories my mother retold from conversations with Ella's family while she was sick in the hospital. And I grieved for her, even though I knew her passing would bring her peace after living a short life filled with painful medical tests, procedures and hospital stays. Although we never met, I felt so much for her and felt her loss so deeply.

Knowing her taught me such a valuable, powerful lesson about myself and life. Loving Ella showed me how there is no distance between people, none at all. We walk around each other like we're strangers, and often feel alone and disconnected. But truthfully, whether we know each others' names or not, we are connected because we share the same creator. We come from the same stock, the same gene pool, the same family.

We are connected whether we see one another or even hold one another. Distance is a figment of our imagination. It's the lie we tell ourselves to hold people away from us and to feel safer and protected from harm and pain. It's a man-made obstacle we place in our relationships.

If this year has taught me anything, it is that grief and feelings of loss are part of our soul's acknowledgement of this connection to each other. It's why we emotionally react to strangers' deaths in mass shootings, natural disasters, and other horrendous events reported on the every night. We may not know the victims personally, but their loss feels like our own. This occurs because we were created to love, and love is the bridge, the connection between each other.

So we must be like Ella. Her body may have been small and fragile, but she loved her family, friends and even strangers as if her heart was as big as the sky. What a different world this would be if we lived (and loved) so boldly.

Even the smallest person can change the course of the future. So true. I'm grateful for Ella and the loving, little (and big) souls who have shared this life journey with me so far for showing me our interconnectedness  and how to love big and boldly.