We Are Both Alive


A letter to my dearest friend.

You had once asked me what I meant when I said, “I do not want to know everything.” This is what I do know- You are alive right now, as am I, and that fills my every waking moment with joy. It may seem simple, or silly, but I need you to understand that in the end, that is all I need to know. As a society, we get complacent. We feel as if we know everything. Never before have people lived in a time where they can google how many miles the Earth is from the Sun, and then immediately share the answer with their twitter following. Sometimes, it seems we feel as if we know it all, so we stop looking for the questions we need to ask. Take a moment to think about all the things you don’t know. I don’t know how to make an origami crane, or properly cook a turkey. I couldn’t tell you the population of everyone in the Philippines, or what makes someone love someone else. There was a time in my life where this would have made me frustrated to the point of tears. Now, I am able to embrace is because that is so exciting! If I did know those answers, I would be moving on to other questions.

You and I are seekers and we will never be comfortable with what we fully know. If you were to truly understand a person and know their thoughts and feelings about everything, the mystery of that person would be gone.Take a look around you, at the trees above you and the leaves on the ground. We are birthed and slowly wither away like everything around us. This is a happy thing, for nothing will ever be permanent. ‘Why do good things end?’ you may ask, and my answer will be- because these good things needed to end. The beautiful truth is that we may never know why things in this world happen.

I know you’re struggling right now. You feel like you’ll never be truly happy again. But how can you know true joy unless you can compare it to true sadness? How can you know what being blissful is like unless you’re able to compare it to the times you were in misery? You will be happy again, because you have a light inside of you that baffles me. I can’t comprehend how someone can be so inherently good. It confuses me, but I enjoy it so much.

We try so hard to understand people, but we never will, and this is a good thing. It keeps us alert, curious, and in love with the world around us. It keeps us moving and it keeps us growing stronger. We are a culmination of all our experiences- both positive and negative. You are everything that has ever made you cry, and you are everything that has ever made you laugh.

I am part of you and you, a part of me. You’ve influenced my life and changed my perspective on the world around me. I am a culmination of Chicago, dirty bars, and laughter with you at my side. I am a culmination of the tears we have shed together, for each other, and I am a culmination of every moment we have spent together.

Know that this feeling will pass. You will wake up and realize you do no yet know who is your soulmate, how feta cheese is made, or what causes people to fall out of love with us. But, this should not damper your spirits. Know that you may never find the answers, but dammit we will have fun trying to find them.

You are alive right now, and I am alive right now and that fills me with such joy.

Love, always,

Shawn Binder