“Imagine one day struck out of your life, and think how different its course would have been. Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns and flowers, that would never would have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.” — Charles Dickens
In recent weeks, I’ve learned some valuable lessons about the lives we are given. They’re not perfect. They can be painful and frightening and confusing. They’re also beautiful, and can be full of quiet miracles and profound joys. They contain life-changing insights and “ah-hah moments” that we often look at for years, but don’t really SEE until we’re ready.
It’s like Georges Seurat’s painting “A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte”. Up close, you see dots of color. Stand back, and you see a woman with a parasol holding a monkey on a leash; a dog eating a picnicker’s lunch; a girl holding her mother’s hand; and sailboats on the lake. Dots of knowledge, experience, wisdom, time, maturity, distance and perspective come together to create a picture.
Case in point: the above quote from Charles Dickens has been living on a page in my address book, and I’ve never even looked at it until today.
“Imagine one day struck out of your life…”
If the link that was my father was still in place, I might be living a very different life. I might have returned to my hometown to be closer to my family. I might not have the daughters that I do. I probably wouldn’t have the amazing collection of friends that I do now.
If I struck out the painful incidents in my life, I would not have found balance. And I might be writing differently…or I might not be writing at all. Pain and joy both provide writing inspiration. I write mysteries and love stories and humor and prayers. Life isn’t just about sorrow and it isn’t just about romance. It isn’t just about the physical world but the spiritual as well.
If I hadn’t struck out the links of the bad influences and loose cannons in my life, I wouldn’t have had room for the friends and relations who make my world. I would not have learned the lesson of courage. “Sometimes, you have to let go of good, to make room for great.”
The first links of many memorable days – a smile, a handshake, a hello, a well-timed meeting, a much-needed hug, an unexpected conversation, a note I wasn’t sure I should write but did anyway – have linked to many MORE memorable days and to MORE links.
If one day of your life had never happened, how would your life be different from the life as you know it? I’m sure there are days you wish had never happened, and other days you wish would happen. There are days I would love to replay because they were THAT good! There are days I look back on now and I think, “What an idiot you were! Why didn’t you say something?”
Truth is, I don’t know. But whatever I did or didn’t do put me where I am right now. I am collecting experience and knowledge that will come in handy someday. Things I experienced 20 years ago or 10 years ago are useful now, and I hadn’t expected them to be. And I’m excited about the rest of my life.