My Shifting Perspectives on Life, Choices, and Lessons Learned

Last week I was pretty clear about what I would write about today. Then life happened, as it does, and I changed my mind about that. This week something some things happened that made me do a gut check to make sure I’m going the direction my Heavenly Father wants me to go.

I have embarked on a time of exponential personal growth and I am writing or working on my writing craft as a full-time job. It is exciting and difficult.  I am relearning how to focus for extended periods of time and it’s helping me in ways I hadn’t expected. The yoga class I recently joined has played into this as well. My body finally feels like I have the physical capacity to do the work I need to without hurting myself, and I can feel myself getting stronger every day.

One of the hardest things I’ve encountered in my writing is the requirement to write characters and situations – their choices – that I would never put myself in. Situations that I wouldn’t want someone I love to be in. This is hard, in part, because I fall in love with my characters. It’s also hard because their values don’t always reflect my own. They do stupid or risky things. Things I may not want to see them do, but I still have to write it. They get hurt by the actions of others. I have to write their words, their choices, their loss of innocence, their pain and consequences. You think you cry hard when you read the painful part of a story with a character you have fallen in love with? Imagine what it took to write that. I promise no one loves that character more than the person who wrote it.

Today, I was reading in the Book of Mormon and I came across a verse where Jesus, visiting an ancient people in America, told them to write down the things he tells them so that, when the time is right, their words can go forth to others who need to read them.

“4 Therefore give heed to my words; write the things which I have told you; and according to the time and the will of the Father they shall go forth unto the Gentiles.”
3 Nephi 23:4
I know that my fictional words aren’t scripture, or anything close, but I do hope that someday, when the time is right, some of them will find their way to someone else and they will find meaning in them. So, I will write my characters making questionable moral decisions, or being cruel, or getting hurt in ways that cause lasting pain. Because reading books has helped me to learn compassion, and gain some wisdom, and learn how to plan a life I want to live. Books have helped me overcome hardship, shift my perspective, and be true to who I am. Story characters have helped me learn not to judge others harshly for their weaknesses. They have shown me that two people telling different versions of the same event can both be telling the truth. Reading the stories of others, even imaginary others, can help us find the meaning in our own lives. I write because I feel called and I hope to write something that will one day help someone else find the meaning in their suffering, their triumph, their ordinary life.
A friend brought me balloons last night. She almost died this week and she wanted to say thank you for my friendship and caring as she has embarked on this new struggle. It was so kind of her in response to what felt to me to be so little. I sent her some text messages. Not flowers, or a teddy bear, or cookies. Just a few texts. I do care about her. I value her friendship and the experiences that life has handed her to endure and overcome. She is one of the strongest people I know. I also think she probably doesn’t see herself that way. She has helped me to learn the difference between being broken and being mended, and the process that comes in between the two states. She has helped me to see that sometimes we need to be okay with just being. She is one reason I am writing hard things today. If I can just be who I am, then I can let my characters simply be who they are as well. And I can do the same for other people in my life.

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