SaveDate Samara Stories (4)

Just a Bit More?

-A Reflection from Julia Sleeper-Whiting, Founder Executive Director-

Our recent Samara stories focused on part of our vision statement – “Love More.” For most of my life, I have had a passion and commitment to doing more, creating more, helping more. I’m not sure exactly where this came from, but the overachiever in me really fixates on this concept of MORE. Often times this is above and beyond may be for people I know and care about but definitely extends to strangers that have passed in and out of my life. I found that these actions naturally led to feeling more love for those around me. The significant joy I feel when I experience this degree of love for people has been one of the most challenging aspects of my growth as a leader and person. Loving more has risks.

For me love isn’t just reserved for just the traditional recipients-family, friends, partners, children. In fact, in all honesty, I often find it easier to love others who aren’t in my immediate circle. Some people might conclude this and say that I like to keep my distance in the interests of self-protection perhaps true…but I think there’s another component of it. I have found there are a lot of people who struggle with loving others in ways I don’t always feel. I love people most times with great ease…which trust me comes with its degree of disappointments, but in the end I have found if I’m able to love with this ease it must be a gift and I must use it to its greatest potential. 

In the Samara stories we shared during the last few weeks, love appeared in various ways. Betty spoke about love for individuals, who started out as strangers with very different backgrounds and experiences, and after loving more, unpredictably became family.  

From our youth and staff, we learned that love has many meanings. But in the end, the best description came from one of our youngest participants, “you just love !”

Chris challenged us to find ways to love more, to recognize that we have the responsibility to pour love into our children as the generations before us have passed on to us. Love can be sustaining and stand the test of time.

Once again, we see that there is no single way to approach life. Who we are is different, our experiences are different, our approaches and interactions are different, but all of us can love-even if it is in our own ways. My challenge to you echoes that of our youth. Is it possible to take the risk to just love a little more?

In today’s complexity it couldn’t really hurt to try, right?