When my friend Brigetta, a mother of four, told me she was writing a book, I was very impressed. How ambitious! How does she find the time? I couldn't wait to read it. Then, when she told me what it was about, I changed my mind. I couldn't read it. I wouldn't read it. You see, the main character tells of her journey through an unimaginable tragedy and how she comes out on the other side. That's not the kind of story I can read.
By now you've probably observed that I battle a little bit of anxiety. It came about after I had my first child and I transformed into my most vulnerable self, having never known a love quite this fierce. My anxiety was minor at first but after having a second and third child - and dealing with many scares that come with being a parent - and also seeing loss in lives close to me, it grew worse. I now have many smart little methods to keep it under control and currently feel like I've succeeded (for the most part - I obviously have my setbacks - see other blog posts). I have to be careful though....it's one of my methods. I take breaks from reading the newspaper or watching the news. I use caution when choosing books to read or movies to watch. The opening music of Dateline actually has a physical effect on me. So, "No" I said to Brigetta, "I'm sorry, I don't think I can read your book." I think I even said, "What were you thinking???" in an embarrassingly judgemental tone. She forgave me though and I hope she knew she always had my full support.
There are so many reasons why I love this book. The main character captured my heart immediately with her raw and earthy nature. All of the characters are developed beautifully and the story starts in such a way that instantly demanded my attention. I really love to read and it isn't very often that I am completely invested in a book right from the start. The story is full of fine tuned details that took me to other parts of the world....I love that. Ultimately, though, this book contained exactly the life lesson that I needed. The very reason I didn't want to read it to begin with - that I was afraid of it, afraid of opening my mind to more tragic possibilities - is the very reason why I needed to read it. We can control only so much of what happens in our lives. The rest isn't up to us and we need to be willing to face it all....the beautiful and the tragic. How we respond to both is absolutely in our control. I called Brigetta the next day and peppered her with questions about the entire process she went through while writing the book. Her story of writing it is as captivating as the book itself. When I asked her how she came up with the title, I revelled in her response. "One person's 'nowhere', is always God's 'somewhere'." We just have to be willing to seek it rather than live the rest of our lives in sorrow.
I have a lovely friend who has endured tremendous tragedy - the loss of a child. On what would have been her daughter's third birthday this last year, she posted something so beautiful - it bears repeating here.
I may be sad but I am not unhappy.
I may cry but I'm not depressed.
I may be bruised but I am not broken.
I may love anew but I will never forget you...