From time to time I’m asked about my avatar/userpic photo. Here’s the original picture.
The photo is of my second daughter Beth (Elizabeth). As I write this she’s two months away from her eighth birthday, but in this picture she was two-and-a-half. It was taken at my brother’s wedding in early 2010.
This photo shows everything I love about this kid and shows so clearly everything I should try to remember in life.
This is a wedding. It’s a serious occasion. Everywhere you look there is important, life-changing stuff going on. And yet, she blocks it all out to focus on a simple object - a ribbon attached to stick - and find a simple fascination and joy in that.
Beth is and has always been a lesson in apparent contraditions. She’s highly intelligent, but incredibly vague. She cares a great deal about the opinions of other people, but doesn’t let what they think of her affect her confidence. She sees unfairness and injustice everywhere it exists, but never stops looking at the world around her with that same fascination and joy she found in that ribbon. In every way she lives in the moment, always able to find something to delight her no matter how exciting or mundane her situation might appear to everyone around her.
In this, I’m the opposite. My natural tendency is to always be looking ahead to the next thing, always struggling to simply be content with my world at this moment. The huge lesson I’m still learning from my daughter is to stop, look around, and marvel at what I see. It’s not always easy for me and perhaps it never will be, and that’s why I keep this photo on my screen everywhere I go - to remind me shut out the noise and be happy with the ribbon.