Be Not Afraid

Savor the Moment: All Things Made New

Almost six years ago, I lived with my sister Rebecca in New York City. I was a new graduate of Notre Dame out to change the world and find my purpose in life. My sister was an actress striving to share her talent with the world and her big heart with someone with equal passion for life. I was a nanny for a family dealing with quite a few difficulties – a toddler who often struck out violently, the possibility of an autism diagnosis, and marital strife. Though I loved the child I cared for, and hoped and prayed I could somehow save this family from strife, no amount of optimism could keep me from falling into despair as the family’s pain and my shortcomings were forced into the light. Though my sister relished the opportunities she had to express herself through acting and gave all of herself in an attempt to grow deeper in relationship with a man who seemed loving, no amount of hope could keep her heart from sinking into despair as promising shows fell through and promising words fell short.

By the time winter snaked cold wind through the tall buildings of the city, we were both lost.

And so, we sat together in the living room of our tiny apartment and huddled close on the futon, drinking wine in an attempt to melt the ice that threatened to settle permanently on our hearts. I so badly wanted the right words to form on my tongue – words that would heal both my sister and me, and that would remind us of the goodness still out there in the world. Those words never came. But one night, some instinct moved me to turn off the lights, turn on a good song, and turn my head towards the window. My sister followed suit, and soon we sat side by side, watching snow gently fall through barren branches of the tree outside our window, set aglow by the nearby street light. These words echoed in our ears:

So, let go, let go
Jump in
Oh well, what you waiting for?
It’s all right
‘Cause there’s beauty in the breakdown
So, let go, let go
Just get in
Oh, it’s so amazing here
It’s all right
’cause there’s beauty in the breakdown

That night, as we sat wordless, we realized we were not hopeless and something stirred within both our hearts. Healing didn’t come quickly; there were tears, broken hearts, harsh words, and dashed dreams. But eventually, there came laughter, along with bigger hearts, sweeter words, and new dreams.

And all week I’ve had the opportunity to see firsthand how all things are made new, through the beauty of my sister – her happiness at finding a generous and kind person to share her life with, and her fulfillment at birthing a boy whose sweetness and love fill her heart.

Today, I am savoring our time together, taking it slow in order to just be with this amazing sister of mine, reflecting on where we’ve been and marveling at where we are. I am rejoicing at how our hearts have grown, and realizing that it is the breaking and tearing of them that has caused them to grow bigger and stronger than we could have ever imagined on that cold winter night.


Rebecca and her sweetheart:

Charlie, with his father’s beautiful eyes:



How might you savor the moment today so that you too might feel the joy of being made new?

Happy weekend, everyone.

And cheers!


  1. Ali,
    I will never forget that night and that song and the moment that finally made me realize how broken I was. Somehow it was only when I fully embraced the despair I felt, stopped trying to fix the unfixable and let myself fall into the abyss, that I was finally able to begin to let go of dreams that had grown too painful to cling to; only then was I able to let the pain transform me into something new and eventually rise from the ashes. Little did I know on that cold and bitter night that seemed like the end of everything that I would go on to not only be happy again, but to find and marry the love of my life and discover true joy and more happiness than I could ever have imagined!
    Our time together in New York City was not often the carefree adventure I had hoped for. But I will never forget the life-changing moments we shared, moments that re-set our compasses and helped us grow into the people we are today. You are my best friend and more than anyone could ever hope for in a sister. I love you!

  2. I am savoring the moment by: counting down to my birthday, starting a new book, and CELEBRATING my last days in DC. So glad that you’ve had a good week with Rebecca and Charlie! ❤

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