It’s easy to get caught up in the little things and lose sight of what really matters. We do it all the time. I am insanely guilty of it. I waste precious moments stressing about the most ridiculous things, like finding the perfect outfit to wear in our family photos, the dishes piled up in the sink, the temper tantrum my toddler threw over wanting to zip his sweatshirt himself, the size of jeans I fit into, my husband washing all the laundry and then putting it in a giant wrinkly heap. These little things consume our lives until something happens that makes us stop in our tracks, forcing us to realize what is really important. The fact is none of the things we spend 99% of our time worrying about matter. The messed up coffee order, the stain on your favorite shirt, the car that keeps blocking your parking space, the job you hate…it’s all so incredibly insignificant.
On November 13th, at least 129 lives were lost in Paris.
I didn’t know any of them, yet I mourn for all of them. Maybe it’s because I have always loved Paris since I was a little girl. Maybe it’s because I can vividly imagine happy couples hand-in-hand strolling down the Champs-Elysees on their honeymoon (like my husband and I), dreamily gazing at the Eiffel Tower, inhaling fresh crepes, and people watching at a local cafe drunk on wine and love. Maybe it’s because I can still see, hear and smell the city in my mind and in my heart that I feel so affected.
Or maybe it’s because I am a mom. Maybe it’s because ever since I became a mother the world somehow seems smaller and life seems more fragile. Maybe it’s because as a mom, I think of the mothers that are in mourning, the children left alone, the families torn apart and my heart shatters. The pain seems somehow unimaginable, insurmountable and incredibly real.
Or maybe it’s because I’m human.
I may not be able to give a reason why I am affected, but I am affected nonetheless.
Life is fragile. Incredibly fragile. And in moments like this, I am reminded of how powerless I am and that scares me. It is scary to think that this is the world we live in; the world my son is being raised in.
While it may not be in my power to change the world, I can do everything in my power to change my world. I can love more and stress less. I can be quick to forgive. I can use my words to build others up. I can let the little things go. I can show my son that in sadness there is love, hope and faith. I can live each moment with joy and positivity, because life is fragile and in a fleeting moment everything can change.
Every day lives are lost to violence and every day we can choose to be affected. Choose to be affected by Paris. Choose to be affected by Beirut. Choose to be affected by Israel, Palestine, Syria…the list goes on. Choose to be affected by every life lost to violence. Choose to be the light…the love…the hope…the change.
It isn’t easy to not “sweat the small stuff”, but I’m going to try, and you should too. Next time your husband forgets to take the trash out for the 559th time, do like Elsa and let it go. Or when you get cut off on the freeway, let it go. Or if someone takes the snowflakes off your coffee cup, let it go. Life is too short. Life is too precious. Life is too beautiful to waste your time on those insignificant things. It’s very simple.
This video is a compilation of photos taken by Fred Hoffman, a dear family friend who has lived in Paris for as long as I can remember. While paying his respects after the attacks, Fred took these photos to share because he felt,
“it’s very important that I share these photos to pay homage to these poor souls who lost their lives innocently at a concert. And I also want to show the compassion of the Parisians. I spent a lot of time here today and observed how people from all walks of life continued nonstop to place flowers, to light candles, reflect, cry and pray! It was very moving and helps to restore my faith in humanity.”
Thank you Fred for allowing me to share these beautifully powerful photos and help tell this story.