I'm most recently a writer. In the six plus decades of my life, I've been a wife, mother, grandmother, Jill of all trades though mistress of but a few, and most of the time pretty content with my lot. As a much younger person, I believed I was called to write, but life and living distracted me for most of those decades. An unwilling transplant from the South, twenty years ago I unintentionally landed in the geographical center of the US. Writing came about in part due to the unwillingness, I expect. When caring for family, gardening, and renovating a century-old house failed to provide sufficient creative outlets, I turned to the one thing I always intended to do. Eight titles later, I'm grateful I found myself while Lost in the Plains!
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Existers, Outlasters, Outlivers? Seriously?
This is one time when Websters really disappoints me. Surviving in my opinion and experience goes far beyond this definition. We're all survivors of something; most of us, of many things. If nothing else, according to this definition, we survived childhood, high school, and first love. We survived learning to drive, college dorms, and loosing out on our first run at our dream job. Parents can lay claim to surviving years of sleepless nights, first days of school and another round of high school and first love, often in multiples. Those of us with a few decades under our belts have survived recessions, wars, political scandals and the nightly news. We've gone from transistor radios to u-tube, dime novels to ebooks, and airmail to email, and we've learned to use Facebook and write blogs, sharing our lives with complete strangers who it turns out have survived many of the same things we have.
All that said, I count my personal survival as a series of tests and blessings which now define who I am and how I try to live my life. Talk to anyone who has endured any sort of hardship or heartache, listen to those brave enough to describe their rise from the ashes of disastrous relationships, life-changing illness or devastating loss, and you know that they not only outlasted their trials by fire, they surmounted and conquered and went on to inspire others. It's not enough to say we survived. We learned, we grew and we stand as beacons, guiding lights for others who will do the same.
Survival is rarely pretty. There are scars, be they battle or surgical or invisible, which never completely fade. There are empty places at the table and in our hearts, gaping holes reminding us of our losses. There are anniversaries, dates on the calendar which attest to another year of survival, but also bring the memories briefly into painful focus. Not pretty perhaps, not quite the way we thought our lives would look by this time, but a beautiful testimony to what we've done with what came our way instead.
I invite you to share your thoughts on survival, be it your own or that of someone who has inspired you. Maybe you're currently on the road to survival, still in that one foot in front of the other mode, unsure of just where you'll end up. Tell someone about your journey and you're likely to hear an encouraging word from a fellow traveler. If you would, leave a comment here for someone who may need to see it. The one gift we all have to give is the assurance that if we have survived, they can too.