I love the color purple, tangerines, anything I can sing, and I have a huge DREAM —That two-leggers, people, all around the world catch CATCH-M too and watch their wildest dreams come true!
My wild dream to write a book came to me at a symphony with my husband some ten years ago. I had my eyes closed, taking in the amazing music, and I’m not sure what you’d call it, divine inspiration, God. But something whacked me over the head that I was meant to write a book about the power of a smile to help us all live our best life.
I think the whack found me so that I could use the hardship I’ve been for good. At 15, my perfectly healthy 18 year-old brother did not wake up one December morning. The diagnosis was some fluke arrhythmia. Watching the stretcher wheel him out of my house with the sheet over his head like a scene in a movie will forever be etched in my memory. He was gone just like that, never to be seen or laughed with again. Then about 10 years later, my perfectly healthy sister did not wake up on the morning of her 38th birthday from the same fluke arrhythmia, leaving behind her beautiful daughters and husband. How in the world could this be happening again? Terror, questions, the search for meaning continued to plague my life – Why my family? How do we get through these hardships?
My parents hearts were broken, and they really stopped living and loving. There had to be another way. So I started seeking out people who endured immense hardship, but were still some how engaged, vibrant, and loving with actual meaning in their life.
The consistent thread I found in each life is what I like to call their “U-SHAPED BRIDGE,” their smile. A “bridge” is a span that allows two fixed points that would never meet over chasms or obstacles to connect. When I watched these folks I call heroes closely, they would use this bridge to connect their head to their heart, their heart to others, and finally their lives to the power of ‘Something Bigger.” For me this “Something Bigger” is Christ. For others, it’s nature, love, God, The Universe, Stillness, The Divine Spark in our heart, but this “Something Bigger” was key, no matter the name. It brings hope, love, connection, gratitude, meaning, the courage one needs to flip any situation into something good and even use it to help others.
Over the ten year period that I worked on my book, I also lost both of my parents. First my mom. Then slowly, my Dad took his last breath in complete defeat. Could my U-SHAPED BRIDGE really help me through these hardships? Could I catch CATCH-M and finish my book? For a while, it seemed the answer was NO, but I kept trying in spite of myself, kept using the key, and slowly it did work. I finally found my U-SHAPED BRIDGE again.
Now there is no doubt that we can come back from any hardship, reconnecting to our heart, to others, to “Something Bigger”! We can even find meaning, celebrating a life beyond our wildest dreams, no matter what hardship, obstacle, or naysayers we face along the way.
Today, I have the complete thrill of sharing my dream, going to schools, orphanages, libraries, and watch children connect to the story of DREAM BIG. As one foster girl with tears in her eyes said to me, “Wow, you inspired me. I just tied my shoes for the first time.” YES! MAGIC!
Our SMILE truly is a bridge that can bring us all together as we each remember the importance and power of this gift and the thrill of pursuing our dreams as a WE.