Dear Tom Hanks,

As a long time fan of basically anything that has Tom Hanks associated with it, I appreciate how he has made the world a far brighter place.

tom hanks hello GIF

And I’m not talking about his acting, directing, or producing skills.

Nope.  Not at all.

Those things help.

I was far too young when I first watched Big (though I still absolutely loved it).  And Turner and Hooch will hold a special place in my heart.  Though Cheese the dog is banned from ever watching the movie.  And then as I got older, the movies just kept getting better and better and better.  Where he and Meg Ryan had a continued love affair through Sleepless in Seattle to You’ve Got Mail.  And then let’s just not even go in depth and my love and appreciate for the uber nerd (from one nerd to another) with how focused and meticulous any war movie ends up being.  Band of Brothers was the first movie(ish) thing that made me ugly cry.  And continues to do so to this day.

think tom hanks GIF by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

So basically, I will just willingly throw all of my money at anything that has Tom Hanks involved.

ready tom hanks GIF

But do you know much about the man (the myth, the legend)?

Tom Hanks is notoriously kind and generous.  From a seemingly infinite set of stories of fans that have met him.  Or people who he has worked with.  Kind and generous are always paramount.

He recently read a series of tweets where he commented on how kind and generous other people had been.  Highlighting that there is, in fact, kindness in our cruel world.

Because, in our world, in our country, in our communities, in our schools, we have a problem.  We have a problem of the heart.  Yes, you can blame it on guns, or violence, or the Democrats, or the Republicans.  You can blame it on the fact that I love the color pink, but you don’t.  On the fact that I believe something that you don’t.  And because we have different beliefs, I have to hate you, because you’re different.

What all of that boils down to is one thing.  One thing only.

The heart.

At some point in history, and everyone is probably going to have a different opinion on this.  And because everyone is going to have a different opinion on this, I’m not going to pinpoint one specific thing.  Because that isn’t the point here.  What is the point is that at some point in our history we decided that hate was going to win.

Ok, maybe it was less of a cognitive decision and more of a we knuckle under because the overwhelming amount of hate that was being thrown in our direction could only be combated with even more hatred.

Right?

Wrong.

That isn’t going to solve anything.  That’s going to exponentially make matters much worse.

But somewhere along the line, we decided that if someone was going to be evil and ugly to me, we would respond in kind.

Dear friends, there is a solution to this awful situation that we are ensconced in.  Is it easy?  Absolutely not.  Is it worth it?  Absolutely yes.

Yes!

Be a little bit more like Tom Hanks.

Do you want to stop school shootings?  Do you want to stop domestic violence?  Do you want to stop the social media based civil war that this country is in the middle of?

Fix the heart issue.

If you fix the heart issue, all of the other issues just cease to exist.  Because instead of spewing negativity and hatred towards one another, we send out love and generosity and kindness and open mindedness.

Does this mean that we all need to agree on, well, everything?

Absolutely not.

But guess what?

THAT’S OK!

Because we don’t have to agree on every single thing to be kind to one another.

It’s as simple as that.

Be.  Kind.

Always.

All The Feels

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
Ecclesiastes 3:4-6

I am not a super emotional, cry at the drop of a hat type of person.  At least, I never thought I was.

I do not cry at movies.  

I absolutely do not get all sappy and mushy on the inside.  

Except I do.

Now.  

Last year was one of those years will probably end up being one of the most memorable years of my life.  When I start talking to people about some of the events of the year, I start getting the “wow” look from people.  You know the look I’m talking about. The look of compassion and pity for some of the awful things in life that happen.  

And then I keep talking about the year.

And jaws just keep getting closer and closer to the floor.

By the end of the year, I was just over it.  I was tired of death and funerals and loss.

I. Was.  Over. It.  

I truly believe that every single thing that happened last year was designed to test my faith and my strength.  And I would like to think that I passed. Not necessarily with flying colors. But I like to think that I squeaked by with a pass.  

One of the most overwhelming experiences for me during all of those difficult times was the complete range of emotions I felt.  There were good days, and there were bad days. And then there were the really, really, REALLY bad days. The days I cried all day long.  The days I could barely leave the couch because I just wasn’t sure what else to do.

I wasn’t ok.

Those days just sucked.  

I also realized that it’s actually ok to admit that I wasn’t ok.

But sometimes those days are just needed.  I needed those days, when I could just lay on the couch, and veg out, and cry.  Those days allowed me to be ok when I needed to be ok. It’s a balancing act.

I believe that as humans, sometimes, we hide some of those emotions that we believe are negative.  We hide them as if we’re not allowed to have a bad day, and therefore the perception is that everything is just sunshine and puppy dogs.  

News flash!!  Not every single day is sunshine and puppy dogs.  

Even bigger news flash!!  That’s ok!!

Here’s the deal…

We were designed in God’s image.  See, it says so right here in Genesis 1:27…

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

And throughout the Bible, we see evidence of God’s range of emotions.  God doesn’t experience just the one emotion.

So we mere humans, created in God’s image, we were created to experience all of these emotions, too.  Not to be controlled by them. But to experience all of them.  

I have to be honest with you.  The verse above from Ecclesiastes has to be one of my favorites.  Because right now, I’m singing the verse. I have known the song for years.  But I honestly don’t think I truly even began to comprehend the enormity of those verses until recently.  

There is a time for everything.  A time to experience every emotion.  And without that complete range of emotion, the happy just wouldn’t quite be the same.  

Roll with me on this one.  If you were over the top, exuberantly happy every.  Single. Day. Do you honestly think you would feel over the top happy?  Or would you just feel normal. Blah. Like ho hum, this is just how I feel again today.  Because you wouldn’t know any different. You just feel how you feel.

It’s only when you compare it to a not so ok day that you truly begin to comprehend how wonderful and amazing happiness feels.  

So there is a time for over the top bubbling happiness.  And then there is also a time for ugly crying. And believe me, ugly crying is just my most absolute favorite thing in the whole entire world.  Really. It is.

Every hardship.  Every struggle. Every loss.  It’s all for a purpose. It’s all an opportunity for growth.  We become stronger because of those challenges. We become better people for having experienced the things we have.

And the next time you’re upset and ugly crying…think about this.  You care enough about someone to ugly cry over them. You have enough love in your heart to ugly cry.  That kind of love, no matter how annoying the ugly crying may be, cannot be all bad.