Have you guys ever had periods in your life when you questioned the way you were doing things because it didn’t feel like you were quite getting the results you wanted? I have been feeling a bit like that lately. It is amazing how easy it is for a normally self confident individual to start to question themselves. I think it is because we live in a world that is so obsessed with comparison and competition. Last week in our yoga class, our instructor was talking with us about how important it is to be yourself. She was saying we must act in a way that is true to who we are. It came at the perfect time for me and it definitely gave me the boost I needed to help me keep my little choo choo train chugging up the hill. Then yesterday, I was catching up on Letters of Note, one of my most favorite websites, and I read a letter that I felt was expressing a similar message. It was a letter from Frank Sinatra to his daughter Nancy and I just loved it so I thought you might too.
Chicken — a thought.
Strange, but I feel the world we live in demands that we be turned out in a pattern which resembles, in fact, is a facsimile of itself. And those of us who roll with the punches, who grin, who dare to wear foolish clown faces, who defy the system — well, we do it, and bully for us! Of course, there are those who do not. And the reason I think is that, (and I say this with some sadness) those up-tight, locked in people who resent and despise us, who fear us, and are bewildered by us, will one day come to realize that we possess rare and magical secrets, and more — love. Therefore, I am beginning to think that a few, (I hope many) are wondering if maybe there might be value to a firefly, or an instant-long roman candle.
I am not sure why he wrote this letter to his daughter (whether it was on a whim or to help her through a hard time) but I have a feeling it might just have given her the little boost of confidence that she needed as well. Three cheers for awesome daddies.
Can you all believe it is 4 days before Christmas? Colleen and I have both been feeling like this Christmas season has gone by much too fast and has also not been anywhere near as cheerful as we would have liked it to be. Primarily because of the awful tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut which has broken the whole nation’s heart along with some stressors that simply come along with being a grown up. I posted this last year but we felt like sharing it again would be a good thing to do today not only because we love tradition but also because we felt like it would be appropriate right now. We also want to state for the record that we both BELIEVE. Here is last year’s post…
The story of Virginia is one that I had heard referenced but had never read until last year. It touched me deeply when I read it because the author’s answer to Virginia rings true to me as the most important thing about this time of year. Despite all of the commotion that surrounds it, Christmas is essentially a celebration of love and the importance of believing in things that cannot be seen or touched but only felt with your heart. Whatever they may be.
This is the original article taken from the New York Sun…
We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:
I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
115 West Ninety Fifth Street
Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.
We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
“Is There a Santa Claus?” reprinted from the September 21, 1897, number of The New York Sun.
May you all have a Christmas filled with magic and take some time to remember to BELIEVE in whatever feels true in your heart.
Our love for books has been well documented around here but the truth of the matter is that some of my absolute favorite books are children’s books. Shel Silverstein is such a lovely writer and the little poem above is a famous of his shared in one of his collections. Children’s books have a tendency to include little lessons and things that the author felt it would be important to teach them. Frequently ideas that are encouraging or inspirational and often in a way that is simplistic and accessible (effortless). I wonder if that isn’t exactly what adults need too. Because when I read this poem, it really does remind me that amazing things are possible.
Have y’all seen the Alice in Wonderland movie made by Tim Burton? I am not sure it did well in the theaters but it has definitely become one of my favorite children’s movies that have come out recently. In this movie, Alice has grown up and does not remember having been to Wonderland before. Due to some circumstances with the Queen of Hearts, the white rabbit appears and leads Alice back down the rabbit hole. As soon as she gets to Wonderland, all the characters start to say that they don’t think she is the “right” Alice. I suppose this is because she doesn’t remember being there before along with the fact that she has grown up and she is different. The Mad Hatter tells her, ” You used to be much more…”muchier.” You’ve lost your muchness.”
This resonated with me because I feel like as we get older, many of us do tend to lose some of our “muchness.” I guess by muchness, I mean audacity. We learn more about the repercussions for our actions, and as a result we are more careful about things we do and say. Which I think is a good thing most of the time. We also have so many responsibilities that sometimes it is too exhausting and we end up not having “much” left to give. But I would like to vow to spend more time increasing my “muchness.” Maybe that means taking more chances and being braver. To be honest I am not sure what it means. But I intend to figure it out.
Now let me be clear that I would never want to become TOO much. I would never want to be the type of person that is so “much” that they seem to take up all the space in a room. That would be much too much. And so I am making a promise to myself that I will spend some time being thoughtful and sorting out my muchness.