Saturday, January 22, 2011

New Beginnings

Sorry I've been MIA from commenting on the blog this week. It's been a rough week. Apologies in advance if this isn't the uplifting post I'd hoped it would be. My mind just isn't in an "uplifting" place right now.

I've spent a lot of time over the last week thinking about what I want to talk about with regard to beginnings and I keep coming back to the same thing even though the optimistic side of me warns I should spare you from my rambling. You see, I haven't been thinking all that much about beginnings. I've been focused on endings. Last week, a friend of mine was murdered by her husband in a domestic violence altercation. She was a beautiful 38-year old woman with two daughters, ages 12 and 5, and her life was cut short because of one violent moment that can never be undone. This tragedy has hit my family extra hard as not only were we friends with this couple, but they went to our church and their 12-yr old daughter is close friends with my 11-yr old and the two share a locker at their middle school.

I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, but I'm having trouble seeing the reason behind all this. Two little girls have lost not only a mother they loved, but a father they adored who will likely spend the rest of his life in jail. Four lives will forever be altered and a family has ended. And no amount of hugs or well-wishes or even condolences can ever change that.

I don't have answers as to why things like this happen. I'm not sure we're meant to. I do know this tragedy has forever changed me not only as a person but as a writer. Over the last week, when my head wasn't in a writing place, I found myself reaching for a book, and I was reminded that I could lose myself in a story for a few hours and regain hope. Hope that seems more often than not to be lacking in our world. But something else happened that I didn't expect. While reading I saw similarities between these little girls and the heroines in my books. And even though I wasn't looking for it, I realized that what these girls have is a new beginning. Not one they might have ever chosen, but one that they will adapt to and recover from. They are survivors, just like the characters I was reading about. They will get through. And they will be stronger because of all they've endured.

I've gotten letters from readers over the years telling me my book helped them through an illness or a family loss or a variety of trials, but it wasn't until this week that I realized just what kind of hope we really give our readers. We're not just telling stories and weaving words on paper. We're giving our readers the kind of hope they need to see not only that everything will turn out all right in the long run, but that new beginnings really are possible.

And the promise of a new beginning...that's uplifting. It's heady. Sometimes, it's exactly what a person needs to keep on going.

17 comments:

  1. Elisabeth, I am so sorry to hear about your friend. I wish I had a magic wand or time machine, where I could wave my wand and make all of the tragic and evil things that happen in life disappear, or a time machine where I could go back and fix that one moment in time that forever changed your friend's family.

    My heart goes out to those girls. I've lost close friends to cancer over the years, and while it's not the same, the result is similar with children losing their mother, but at least they still had one parent.

    I understand your grief because my family was hit hard a few years in a row when our oldest son lost a classmate to suicide. Two years later our youngest son lost his best friend to suicide and while we were dealing with that, a few months later, our daughter lost two close friends in a tragic auto accident. I'd been the Daisy leader, class mom, and soccer coach for her girlfriend, and my husband was the soccer coach for her boy friend. We'd known them since they were five...it was the Fall of their Senior Year in High School.

    We prayed a lot for healing as a community, for their families,and for our children for the hole the loss of a friend leaves behind.

    I'm a firm believer in fate and destiny and could not survive if I didn't have faith and hope.

    I need to read and write about the happily ever afters in life because I strongly believe in them. There is someone out there for everyone and if you aren't on your toes you might miss that perfect chance to meet the love of your life.

    I'll add you and your friend's family--especially her daughters-- to my prayer list, hoping that their new beginning will be a road to acceptance and moving forward because that's often the hardest road ahead...the one where we have to go on without our loved ones.

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  2. Oh Elisabeth, how tragic. My thoughts and prayers are with those poor girls, their family, and you and yours.

    I pray that the girls find a new and bright future and heal from the invisible wounds inflicted. I wish them strength and hope and happily ever afters.

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  3. Elisabeth, I am so very sorry for the tragic and violent loss you your daughter and those two young sisters have had to face. I have added you all to my prayers today.

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  4. There is a time for everything under the sun: a time for sun, a time for rain, a time for joy, a time for sorrow. Please know that in this time of sorrow in your family and for your dear friends that my thoughts are with you!

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  5. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this very personal tragedy, Elizabeth. Hugs and prayers to your family and those children.

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  6. Elizabeth, I am so sorry about your friend and her daughters. The dark secret of domestic violence can be anywhere - it's sobering how many strong women I know have survived abusive relationships. I truly hope those girls move on to a happier life somehow. And you're right - our stories do help people see hope and move on.

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  7. Elisabeth- It's times like these when the writer in me can't find the words to express the depth of my turmoil. Take care. My heart aches over this senseless tragedy.

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  8. Things like this have a way of putting our sometimes petty concerns into perspective, doesn't it. I'm so sorry this happened to your friend's family, Elisabeth. Adversity gives us an opportunity to discover our strength - but no one ever wants an opportunity like this.

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  9. So sad. I can't even begin to imagine what those girls are feeling. My heart goes out to them.

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  10. Wow. That's just shocking when something like that happens so close to home. I'm almost 38. I can't imagine my life ending right now. Those poor little girls. Prayers for all of you.

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  11. Hi Elisabeth
    I'm glad you shared. I'm glad you admitted to having trouble seeing the reason for this. That's always part of my anger when something bad happens. We can't always justify & it's okay to say so.

    My thought & prayers are with everyone affected by this loss.

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  12. Elisabeth, I'm so sorry about this terrible loss, but I'm so happy you were able to find an escape through a book. Hugs and prayers, Tracey

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  13. Elizabeth,
    I'm so sorry for your loss and for the little girls. They are so lucky to have you in their lives. I pray for them during this time of new beginnings and for all of you and you work your way through.
    I do agree with you that books are a great solace. They also provide a way for our brains to take an escape for a bit so we come back a little more able to cope, I think.

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  14. I am so sorry for this senseless loss and I am adding my prayers to those lifting up these girls and all who have been touched by this tragedy.

    I agree that what we write about is hope, which is important always especially in dark times.

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  15. Thanks to everyone for the great comments. I appreciate the thoughts and prayers.

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  16. This was a heartbreaking post but uuplifting as well. You are absolutely right--these girls do have a new beginning. Their future is unwritten and they have the power to fill those pages whatever their hearts desire. It sounds like they've got some great people around them to help write a brilliant future.

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  17. I am so sorry for your loss, Elisabeth. I do know how difficult it is to understand the tragedies in our lives. And yes, reading (and writing) is a wonderful way to escape them. I hope you're able to find some peace. Hugs.

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