Helping lasts

My parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary recently. Today, I want to reflect on what lasts… what it means to commit to creating something. And how, in the process, something is gained that can’t be found in any other way. There are no shortcuts, no hacks, no stand-ins for it.

Here are my parents on their wedding day in 1966:

And here they are celebrating with family last weekend:

Working with writers and creative professionals, I am always thinking about what it means to create something that affects others — that brings joy. What it means to share, and develops deeper meaning over time. I can’t help but feel that…

What lasts is what you create,

Not what you react to.

It is the experiences you share,

And what you attend to each day, with the caring of an artisan.

The good stuff is created, slowly, even as you struggle through the boring parts. When you don’t give up even after you have calculated that there is more to gain by doing so.

As I think about my parents, the 50 years they have been married, and what I can learn from them, I think of this: Be someone who creates. Who shares. Who reaches out.

The thing about a golden wedding anniversary is this: it is easy to celebrate, and difficult to attain. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for them. I think about each year they lived through, each high and low they had to weather together. They helped each other. In thinking about what it was that kept them together through it all, for some reason, I’m reminded of this quote from Mister Rogers:

“If you look for the helpers, you will know that there is hope.”

Creating your work — your writing, your art, your craft — and connecting it to the world, is not just about the act of putting a product out there and publicizing it.

It is about providing a gateway for others — to be someone who is there when they need to experience joy, when they need to learn, when they need a helping hand, and when they simply need to know that there is hope.

What lasts is that inclination to be present for others. To open a gateway for them. To help them through. To create an experience they will never forget.

One day. One year. One decade. One half-century at a time.

Who is the helper in your life?