Yesterday I watched a girl of maybe eight and her significantly younger sister dump a baggie filled with change on a WalMart checkout counter in order to buy food that she would obviously be cooking herself.
She was .26 short and I handed her a dollar so she could keep the entire flat of cup o noodles and get a .35 soda on the way out the door. Her little sister smiled and I instantly regretted the strain and embarrassment in the eyes of the child carrying the box.
She’d done everything she could to not be seen and I’d seen her.
I saw her stop just inside the automatic doors and carefully bundle her responsibilities. Count the money in her hand and look back to see if I was watching before cautiously putting the coins in her front pocket.
I watched her struggle a little bit to hold the small flat on one hip before grabbing the very bare and tiny hand of her sister with her own bare hand and walk through the door.
And then across the parking lot, and up the street in the darkness and sharp cold of a mid winter 11pm.
They were walking home in the dark and cold at an insane hour of the night and I hated the world we lived in that allowed me no way to shelter them from that without raising suspicion.
I don’t know her name. I have no way to know her name but I am exhausted and heartbroken for her.
I lead this “other” life in a brutally real, not so real world. A world that allows friendships that would because of location and status be out of my reach in a less connected reality.
Writers. Farmers. Artists.
People who change our world, from all over the world.
Recognizable faces who I have been lucky enough to know through the magic of a blunt nature. Interacting on things like content & branding. Life. Love. Spirituality and the salvation of grace.
A tightly woven network of people trying to make a difference in our world. Introductory Emails passed one to the next. A snow ball effect of sorts driven by common ground and a very human need for truth in support. Understanding without expectation. Relationship without request. Sometimes in the lull and disappointments of trying to be heard. Sometimes in the manic chaos after having been heard by everyone.
Notoriety is a exciting, scary thing. A little daunting.
Meeting a person who has a bit of celebrity can be… a little daunting. And kind of exciting. And surprisingly normal.
I was thinking about that today.
How much I have in common with a handful of people who as a society we would set above my station.
A successful business woman. An actress that impacted the imagination of a generation (and knows some seriously cool “boys”). A man who has changed the lives of thousands of people by growing food. And me. A teenage drop out, SAHM with no perceivable career or consistent higher education.
Now don’t freak out, I’m not knocking myself.
I know who I am and the world I move.
But I’m not, by societies standards a “success” or a person to be heard.
Which is interesting as so much of the value placed on me by others is exactly for what I have to say.
I speak truth on a regular basis.
Unapologetically in person.
A little more cautiously online, something about seeing things in black and white makes me want to have a softer nature.
But when asked, that’s what people are drawn to. Find comfort in or are challenged by.
What I have to say.
So it begs the question, why don’t I say it more often?
And maybe why in a culture where everyone is saying everything and we are all pretty sure that we have the right to be heard….why is one more voice necessary?
What I would tell my new-ish friends. These people who’s impact is so obvious….
Maybe what you have to say is exactly what one person needs to hear.
Maybe you’ll change a life.
Maybe you will never understand the impact of a few sentences in a a career filled with volumes of words.
But do you want to say them anyway?
Today for me the answer is yes.
I’m drinking a somewhat excellent cup of coffee and am enjoying the hefty weight of a stocky black cat sitting in my lap.
My house is quiet except for the sound of the running dishwasher (yes I hand washed first…it’s a quirk, shoot me). I have a meeting in a little over an hour and I probably should take down the Christmas tree. But first I want to say this.
People are people.
Earth shaking right.
You are not any more or less than the people who share this world with you.
You cry, they cry. You need, they need.
They were afraid too.
You know what the difference between a successful, easily recognizable face and a drop out teen mama is?
They have an easily recognizable face.
Not much more than that.
And here’s a secret I’ve learned in the past couple of years.
I am just getting started.
When I look at the people that not only are easily recognizable but the people that I respect.
They have years on me.
Brave years of getting to know themselves and what is truly of value in this world.
Years of speaking. If only for that one person.
If only for themselves.
Be brave. Be heard. Don’t be afraid.
Rare day off courtesy of my eldest….what can I say, I raised a badass. Playing a little catch up on dishes and laundry. Wrote the worlds most beautiful menu and shopping list. Considered tackling the chicken coop…that may still happen, we’ll see how motivated I get.
Coffee, bacon & peanut M&M’s (which I will absolutely pay for later but feels incredibly indulgent right now). My schedule lately is challenging my focus and pushing me to decide what I am going to choose to do with my time.
I know that Urban Grace Farms lends itself to the idea of a farm blog.
Gardening. Food. Livestock.
And those thing will always be a steady part of my life because, well…they are the way of life I’m accustom to, but I have to admit that I find it challenging to maintain a creative focus on the parameters of that subject alone. I find myself motivated to write about a wide range of things which any good business coach will tell you is the death knell of online development. Know your market.
Pick an area of expertise and develop a following from there.
Here’s the thing. I’m not an expert in much of anything other than being comfortable with the idea that I really don’t know much.
The older I get the smarter I get, and the smarter I get the more I realize how little I really understand.
I suppose that could be frustrating or depressing but let’s be honest, I’m an optimist….my cup isn’t just half full at the idea of having a lifetime of learning ahead of me, it’s overflowing with the joy of it.
I love waking up and seeing the world in a new way.
And in that excitement I want to write…okay, what I really want to do is talk but since I’m a slightly reclusive workaholic with introverted tendencies living hundreds of miles away from family and friends and my husband has a limited capacity for word absorption…I write.
So the question then is this, is it possible to productively develop an online presence without a focus?
Today I may want to write about work life balance.
Tomorrow let’s share a song or a recipe.
Next week can we shift to politics or what it really means to live in grace, experiencing the emotional movement of the moon cycle, and drinking copious amounts of black coffee while I slather myself with blended essential oils intended to stop the miserable hot flashes that are destroying my sleep schedule. Pouring over seed catalogs knowing that I’m already a couple weeks behind my ideal timeline for market planning and deciding how exactly it is I’m going to cut my hair.
Can I write one day about how much I miss having a milking schedule. The relationship of it. The barn. The fresh dairy…really, the fresh dairy. And then the next about food service as a ministry or how much I hate my purse without any focus other than pure self expression?
Can I quote scripture and Rumi and know that they are both capable of teaching me something?
“let yourself be slightly drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.” ~ Rumi
“…I have come so that they may have life, life in its fullest measure.” ~ John 10:10.
Life in its fullest measure. Words without worry.