Tags: afterlife, death, destiny, family, fate, God, life
Within the last week, I lost someone dear to me: my great aunt. It was sudden and unexpected. We all assumed that despite her being in her early 70’s, she was in good health and doing great. Also, her father–my great grandfather–will be turning 94 this month, and he is still pretty spry and healthy. Death certainly seemed far away.
Losing a loved one is difficult. However, when it sneaks up and steals life suddenly it is even harder. We are left wondering why and how we couldn’t see it coming, It is a disconcerting feeling to know that life can be carefree one day and then stolen away the next–all without a warning.
My first reaction was shock. I needed to know why and how. I wanted to try to make sense of it all. However, I noticed that even though everyone else felt the same grief, they didn’t all share my need for answers. As soon as I expressed those questions, I was met with a dumbfounded response: “But she was old…” I could hear the implied continuation of that sentence. But she was old…it was bound to happen eventually. But she was old…it’s the natural progression of things.
The more I see death the more I realize there is nothing ‘natural’ about it. It may be the fate of everyone on this earth. But it’s not ‘natural’–not in the least bit. Every iota of my being has always told me that death is NOT how it should be. It isn’t what should be our fate. Death causes pain, sorrow, separation, devastation, depression, and a myriad of other negative side effects. Even when an evil person dies we cannot say that that death can have a wonderful effect on this world. We may be protected from suffering more evil at the hands of this person, but all the best things in life can’t directly come from the end of human life. So how could something so negative be considered the natural end?
We are meant for so much better. We are designed for a higher purpose than to simply live and then die. That is why no matter how old a person is when they pass away I can never shrug it off as normal or simply the natural end to life. Death is an unwelcome interruption. It takes us away from family, love, helping others, making a difference, laughter, and joy. It creates a rift that cannot be healed…at least for now. It causes wounds and sorrow that usually can’t be healed in this life.
Death reminds me that God didn’t design us to die. He created us for immortality–to live a joyful and blessed life always. When we try to accept death as normal and natural, we risk forgetting that. Death should always be a reminder that this life is temporary. Death should instill in us the urgency to make the most of our lives. Life is so fleeting. It can be gone in an instant, and then we must stand before God to account for how we used our time.
I know I’m not perfect. In fact, I’m the exact opposite. I’m horribly flawed. I can be selfish, rude, and inconsiderate. I make mistakes and excuses. And I’m still ashamed of some of the things I’ve done in the past, even though I’ve found forgiveness and tried to grow as an individual.
Still, I want to leave this life behind with as little regrets as possible. I want to die knowing I did my best and helped leave something good behind. I want to be so much more than my wrongdoing and mistakes when I take my final breath. I want to be able to honestly tell God that although I failed so many times, I always got back up and tried to do better. I want to start the next life knowing that this life was NOT in vain or wasted.
© 2013 Amanda R. Dollak
Tags: dreams, fiction writing, inspiration, life, living fearlessly, NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, the past, writing, writing challenges
Far too often we find ourselves cowering with only half a foot out of our comfort zone. We want to reach for our dreams and search for bigger and better things. We desire to create something totally unique to show the world what we are made of. But we almost always fall short of our aspirations because we are constantly afraid of getting burned or rejected.
Instead of making timid steps that don’t lead us very far, we need to let fear fall off to the wayside. We must step boldly out of our comfort zone and keep expanding it until we reach our goals. There is no need for huge leaps of faith. Running blind will only lead to disaster. No, we must keep our eye on the prize and firmly plant one foot in front of the other–steadily moving forward with a brave and eager heart.
Change is never easy, especially when there is risk and the unknown involved. Still, who wants to stay stuck in one place for an entire lifetime, changed in place by all that might happen? I know I don’t! Today, I vow to hold my head up high, turn a deaf ear to fear, and leave my comfort zone a little more each day.
I already started stretching my comfort zone for over a month now. (1) I signed out for NaNoWriMo and seriously worked on a novel! I only reach 15,000 words out of 50,000 because my laptop died and I was very sick. I didn’t win, but I won something even great: I learned to be fearless with my stories again. I don’t care if they are good. I don’t care if people will ever read them. I only care that they are written. They are in my mind and are begging to be created. That’s all the reason I need.
I also decided that the beginning of December would be a great opportunity to revamp my freelance writing. I’m working on some refresher courses. I’m reacquainting myself with sites I haven’t written for in months and even years. I accepted a number of assignments. And I’m exploring other self-employment opportunities.
Finally, I also have finally found the courage to begin my life story–or as I like to call it, my beginning story. I am nearing 30, and I can feel the pages growing thin. An end is coming; I can feel it. The me that lived for almost 30 years is dying, and a new me is ready to come back stronger than. I’ve been far too afraid to face my past. It held so much pain and darkness. Many of the wounds are still excruciating. But it’s time to purge my demons onto the page and bring that story to a permanent close. I’ll always be me at the core, but it is time to start unloading the baggage and leave all the ugliness behind. I choose only to allow bring with me the strength, kindness, compassion, and wisdom that bloomed from this darkness. The rest of it can stay behind as I move on to better and happier years!
What are you doing to push yourself a little more out of your comfort zone?
© 2013 Amanda R. Dollak
Tags: childhood dreams, dreams, fiction writing, inner writer, poetry, relationships, writing
I’m giving myself a mental slap across the face tonight. Just because no one else believes in my dreams or thinks they are worthwhile, it doesn’t mean I should give up and mope for the rest of my life. This is MY life. These are MY dreams. I know deep inside that I was meant to be a writer. It doesn’t matter whether or not the masses read my work. It doesn’t matter whether or not those close to me ever read what I write. It doesn’t matter whether or not I ever make any decent money for what I do. Staying true to my heart’s deepest desires is all that matters!
I am not me without writing. I can’t sleep right. I can’t think right. I can’t function if I stop for too long. You can argue all you want that I’m not cut out to be a famous writer. Well, maybe I’m not. But I assure you, I’m meant to be writer–plain and simple.
I am a writer…a writer is me. I MUST write to thrive. It has been that way since I first learned to read and write. Call it foolishness. Call it a waste of time. Call it whatever you want. However, it’s what I am…it’s what I do…and it’s what I’ll do until the day I die!
© 2013 Amanda R. Dollak