If You Let It

Auntie! Build a castle to the sky with us!

The call of her sweet innocent voice from behind a pair of pleading brown eyes framed in windblown hair lured me away from the waves and back up to the beach.

It is hard to turn down one of the cutest little girls on the planet.


The beach has taught me something profound about life.

When scooping up sand to build castles to the sky for my nieces, the best way to get a lot of sand all at once is to put my hands together open, palms up. Although effective, it is precarious. The sand can fall and anyone can knock it out of my hands, but if I try to protect the sand by making fists I can barely hold any sand at all.

  • The tighter my fists, the less sand I can hold.

I find this is true in life too.

As hard as it is, I try to live with open hands and not clench the people I love, my dreams, work, and plans in my fists.

It is vulnerable to live like this; it means I am not in control nor is there guaranteed security with what I have in my life, yet I have more than I thought possible when I keep my hands open.


Keeping my heart open.

Living with open hands and an open heart means you get to receive as well – you are ready to receive amazing people and great things when they come. If all I did was clench my hands around what I already have, I wouldn’t be ready to receive when opportunities come along.

The longer I keep my hands open, it seems the more I am able to hold.

  • And the more I have to lose.

While updating my personal information at my Financial Planner’s office awhile ago, we went over the fact that the job on file was no longer my job because the company I was working for went bankrupt. It had been awhile since the woman who was starting over at the age of 35, had just been handed a mortgage that two people were supposed to be paying, and still had thousands of dollars in divorce *ahem* freedom bills coming her way showed up on his doorstep. The woman with a broken heart, a few pairs of fabulous shoes, and a hope of a much less traumatic future who was putting one step in front of another day by day and painfully making her way through the world.

Financial Planning Man – “Wow. You really have been through a lot, haven’t you?”
Donloree – “And you only need the half of it.”
Financial Planning Man – “Some people have it rough … not sure why …”
Donloree – “The only good thing about tragedy, heartbreak, and loss is that it can make you an extremely compassionate person.”
Financial Planning Man – “Really? It seems to make people bitter.”
Donloree – “Well … only if you let it. Who you become, in all circumstances, is up to you.”
Financial Planning Man – “Hmmm… never thought of it that way.”

Open heart.

All of us know so little about what really has gone on in each other’s lives. We don’t know the journey the person in front of us has taken or what the experiences they have gone through to make them who they are; we simply see them and know them now.

  • And we judge. Oftentimes harshly.

What if we stopped the judging and simply saw each other and accepted each other with open hearts?

What couldn’t we accomplish if we chose to accept, receive, and let people be who they are rather than try to make them who we want them to be?


What if we chose love instead of selfishness?

So many people grasp their grains of sand with a death grip, desperately trying to preserve the little that they have left, that their hearts atrophy and love is something they only know of from fairy tales and in other people’s lives.

  • I know what it is like to lose. To lose nearly everything. To have empty hands and have to start over again.

In these moments of loss, when the sky turns darker than a moonless night in winter and the future seems hopeless, the bravest and most courageous thing you can do is simply stay open and choose to keep going and get ready to receive, to choose to love, and put one fabulously clad foot in front of the other.

Open up your hands and build a sand castle to the sky while waiting to see what the wind brings.

  • Wind has brought me some incredible things and people over the years.

Eventually, the winds of change will come and when it is your turn to both let go and receive, try your best to have open hands and an open heart.


The gift of loss and brokenness is learning how to expand, how to rebuild, and how to let the light shine through.

When the winds of change come, are you going meet it with open hands and heart? What kind of person will you let yourself become?