I’ve Been Thinking
The subject line of the email was “An omen from God.”
It was from my brother Bobby, who was in Morocco for a board meeting of the organization ONE and (Red), which he co-founded with Bono. ONE and (Red) both work to save lives. Saving lives has, in fact, been my brother’s life’s work. (It has actually been the life’s work of all of my brothers — Timothy as chairman of the Special Olympics International, Mark as president of the Save the Children Action Network, and Anthony as the founder and chairman of Best Buddies. But today, this story is about Bobby.)
Bobby has raised more than $465 million dollars through (Red) for those with HIV/AIDS in African countries. He has raised millions more for the Special Olympics through its A Very Special Christmas albums, which he co-produced with Jerry Moss and Vicky and Jimmy Iovine. (It’s great music worth listening to any time of year.) And, these last several years, he has also worked tirelessly to try and secure housing for homeless veterans in Los Angeles. Los Angeles is home to the largest V.A. facility in the nation, but not a single new housing unit has been built there yet. That should piss everyone off. It doesn’t, but it should. (Bobby’s most recent op-ed implored President Trump to build this housing to help the homeless vets, since he vowed to take care of them as president. Bobby’s plea has yet to be answered.)
Bobby has devoted his life to working on behalf of others. That’s why an exchange he had with a doorman in Morocco stopped him in his tracks.
The doorman, who was trying to grab my restless brother a car, turned to him and said, “We have time here. Not like you in America. You have no time, so you do not live.”
This really made my brother stop (a huge feat, by the way). “You have no time to live. Make your time yours,” he wrote to me from halfway around the world.
I share this with you today because I believe it to be deeply true. Time is our most precious resource, but very few of us use it as wisely as we could. We rush through our lives with our eyes on our phones, trying to get through one thing after another. We rush around trying to get somewhere that we think will make us happy. We rush around so much that in the midst of it all, we forget to actually live.
Do you make time to live? Time for yourself? Time for your friends? Time for your family? Or are you too busy?
I’m writing this early so I can go spend time with my other brother Timothy, who asked me many months ago to “spend time” with him. “Give me a weekend,” he said. “I want time with you.” So I did, and we are spending this weekend at a retreat in New Mexico with Fr. Richard Rohr and others. (I’ll write about that later.)
On this Sunday — a day of reflection, of intention, and of rest — I hope you take some time to decide whether you are you so busy with everything else in your life that you have forgotten those closest to you, maybe even yourself.
That brings me back to my brother Bobby. Two months ago, he moved away from Los Angeles, which is where he had lived for more than 20 years. He packed up his life and his family and left.
At first, I was angry because I felt like he was leaving me behind (I know that sounds selfish, but it’s how I felt initially). Then I came to realize that what Bobby needed was time. Time for himself. Time to breathe. Time to recalibrate. Time away from LA. Time, perhaps, to save the life he had skipped over on behalf of others. I pray that he finds the time to live the life he is seeking.
Today at The Sunday Paper, we hear from others who have taken the time to listen to their own hearts and forge a different path forward. May their stories and their advice help you think about how you can do the same.
All of this brings me to my favorite poem by my friend Mary Oliver, “The Journey”. She reminds us that there’s only one life you can save: your own. So start there. If you have time after that, go for it. But make what you do with your time matter. Make it meaningful. You only have so much time here on earth. Take time to live your life. I’m passing on the omen from a world away. I hope you have time to think about it.
NEWS: REFLECTIONS ON THIS WEEK’S HEADLINES
SYRIA: As you just read, I have been thinking about living all week. But as news keeps coming out about Syria, I also find myself thinking more and more about the fragility of life, the insanity of war, and all of the innocent people dying a world away. There, but for the grace of God, go all of us.
News of our nation’s response to Syria is a moment for us all to pause. My prayers are with our armed forces, their families, and the families in Syria. I’ve struggled myself with what to do and where to put my outrage, my disbelief, my fear, and my horror. My brother Timmy and his wife, Linda, are sponsoring and supporting a Syrian family in Washington, D.C. through their church. I know so many people who are doing so many moving things.
For this weekend, I’m choosing to use my voice in condemnation of a brutal dictator a world away, and I’m choosing to financially support the White Helmets, the Syria Civil Defence team that is made up of local volunteers working to support and save their fellow Syrians.
I know it’s a small drop in the bucket, but it’s something. I’m passing forward the information in case it interests you as well. I also recommend watching the powerful Oscar-winning Netflix short “The White Helmets,” which follows these rescue workers as they put their lives on the line. You can view the trailer below.
NEIL GORSUCH CONFIRMATION: Another headline that I followed closely on Friday was the Senate’s confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. (You may remember that President Obama nominated Judge Merrick B. Garland, but could never get a vote.) President Trump campaigned saying he would appoint a conservative justice and with Gorsuch’s confirmation, he got what he wanted. He accomplished one of the promises he made during his candidacy.
How do you feel about this appointment? Was the future of the Supreme Court important to you when you voted in November? Will it be in the future? Write to us. I’d be curious to hear your thoughts.
Hillary Clinton:”The More Successful and Therefore Ambitious a Woman Is, the Less Likable She Becomes”: Two weeks ago, I wrote about Hillary Clinton’s decision to step “out of the woods” and back into the public spotlight. On Thursday, she made some of her first statements to the New York Times’ Nick Kristof. Mrs. Clinton spoke about how hard it is for ambitious women to be perceived as likable and referenced research that has proven this fact to be true.
What do you think? Do you agree with her statement? Have you experienced this in your own life? Watch her statements below, then let us know what you think.
Powerful, Purpose-Driven Voices to Give Us Perspective
Jamie Lee Curtis is “creatively on fire” at 58, but she didn’t get there overnight. After years of suffering from pain and addiction, Jamie told me this week that part of her recovery has involved coming to realize that she’s not alone. Now, she trusts herself and lets her ideas pour out of her in a flow. Even her children’s books are written in under 10 minutes.
“I’m Going to Take Control of This Story and I’m Going to Find the Light.” — Kimberly Williams-Paisley
For years, actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley struggled as she watched her mother suffer from a rare form of dementia. “I felt I was in the darkness for so long,” she told me this week. But after her mother’s passing in 2016, Kimberly decided to find the blessings in her family’s story, and today, she is using her voice to educate others about loving and caring for someone with a life-altering disease.
“Purpose Is a Uniquely Powerful Sense of Fuel — and Satisfaction.” — Tony Schwartz
Entrepreneur Tony Schwartz has interviewed employees at some of the world’s top companies and found that those with a sense of purpose are the ones who perform best and are happier overall. So how do we all get there? Tony has one question that he says will put us all on the path to making better choices.
“We Must Be at Peace with Ourselves and Others Before We Can Tap Into an Energy of Passion and Purpose.” — Angie Johnsey
How can we reclaim energy and channel it into pursuing our passions? Angie Johnsey says one key step is letting go of the need to control what you can’t change. In our fourth part of our Mind Reboot series, Angie reveals the reasons we try to control others and shares the steps we can take to move past it.
“When We Are Stripped of Everything We Believe Defines Who We Are, There Is Nowhere to Hide.” — Janine Shepherd
Janine Shepherd’s lifelong dream of becoming an Olympian was cut short in 1988 when she was hit by a truck while out training with her teammates. Doctors told her she would never walk again, but Janine refused to accept that. She not only learned to walk again, but she also learned to fly — earning her pilot’s license while still in a full body cast. Today, Janine is a best-selling author and speaker who is using her story to raise money for spinal cord research and remind everyone that a “broken body is not a broken person.”
Women’s Brains. Women’s Bodies. Join Us For a One-of-a-Kind Experience.
SHOP WITH A PURPOSE
“I just put the finishing touches on my first coloring book and I couldn’t be more proud!”
“Color Your Mind” is for individuals with Alzheimer’s and the people who love them. It’s innovative, informative, inspiring, and filled with creative ways to stimulate your mind. I just love it. I hope you’ll pre-order a copy and use it to connect with your loved ones.
A THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK AHEAD
AND FINALLY, WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!
WRITE TO US AT INFO@MARIASHRIVER.COM.
Subscribe to The Sunday Paper today! Sign up here.