A reader’s perspective of emotional ups and downs.
Is it just me or does time really go by faster the older you get? I mean back in high school a single day could drag on for weeks! Now, there aren’t enough hours in a day to get all the things done that need to get done! What I wouldn’t give for a day that lasts a week! But age does provide a perspective that seems to be missing in the earlier years of life. I mean do you remember the fun of asking your mom for your first bra? Or when you parents found out you started menstruating? Everything seemed to be so over the top, end-of-the-world crisis back in the age of teenagedom! But now, at least for me, those are stories to pull out to get a chuckle from friends. In the moment though, those dramas demanded all my attention until of course the next conundrum arose. I mean how often is the first love the last love? But that first broken heart seems to prevent anything else from registering- I mean homework didn’t matter, family time didn’t matter, the only thing that mattered was surviving the next day of school (that seemed to last a week) with the worst broken heart known to human kind.
The experience called life, though, is definitely better with emotions that hit you in the heart and make you remember- happiness, embarrassment, excitement, sorrow, disappointment or pain all seem to be another reminder that we are alive. It is a feeling, a gift in a sense that shows us our hearts work and that we are feeling everything in all possible ways to feel. And whether we like it or not, those feelings that we dread are just as important as the feelings we seek. Each of them allow us to grow, to learn, to be the person that we are today. That is life making us the individuals we are right now.
Looking back at who I was and who I am now I know that I, for one, am not the person I thought I would be. To be honest I’m not sure what I had in mind but it didn’t include having a same sex soul mate by my side, the responsibility of carrying for a parent who I worshiped as a child, or starting a second profession. Life may change in a moment or it may be a slow simmer over time, but all those emotions we have survived allow us to keep surviving.
I am stepping into the medical field in a way that most might not quickly relate as making a difference. That is fine but what I think is amazing is how strong the human spirit is. I’ve met a young man still in his early 20’s who had great potential as a basketball player but suffered from a stroke when he attempted a bench press and blew his carotid artery. I’ve met a woman in her 30s who went to check her mail, her mail! and was struck by a car and lost both of her legs. I’ve met a man whose wife is by his side every day, since as she stated, “it’s hard to be apart after being together for 67 years.” I’ve met a profession that makes me thankful each day because it shows me a moment can change everything. Its life and all its moments and they should be treasured for how they create who we are and it is these patients with all their life and love still to give that makes me humble.
Our lesfic authors have been able to do that. Take a moment, an event, a combination that changes life in an instant. They capture the feelings of bewilderment, confusion, disbelief, denial as well as acceptance and growth. Most recently I read G. Benson’s All the Little Moments and she absolutely captures a moment when her character is given a choice where there really is no choice just an unexpected 180 of everything she has been to who she needs to be. The character accepts the changes and the novel accounts for how this one character is able to grow into the person she is intended to be.
Another example of growing from a moment, one most all of us can relate to, is the moment when two planes struck the twin towers in New York City. Georgia Beers’ 96 Hours took that instance and the following days and beautifully describes how two characters re-evaluate what was important to what needs to be important.
Or how about those instances where life IS going the way we want and then it’s not. Chris Paynter’s And a Time to Dance makes me want to hold and kiss and tell my wife every moment of every day that I love her just in case I don’t get that next moment. Paynter’s character of Corey is in that moment and her story of where to go from there is perfect.
I also thought Ana Matic’s The Return had an interesting take on life most of us wouldn’t consider as traditional. I mean I don’t think any of us dream of growing up and having a prison record. That’s what happens to Matic’s character of Liza. How does one take that stumbling block of life and make it? How does someone go from the inspiration of a small town to the town embarrassment? Or the excitement and achievement of being able to reach for your dreams to one of extreme confusion, frustration and anger. I’m not sure how I would handle such a situation but Matic’s is able to capture a character growing and becoming a better person because of what life has challenged her with.
These are stories that made my heart hurt for the characters. Stories that made me cry for all that the characters were feeling and experiencing. Stories that also made my heart swell with love as they shared that pain with me as a reader so that they could continue to learn and become stronger, become new, become who they were meant to be. They are stories that made me appreciate what I do have right here, right now. Stories that made me see each day as the gift it is meant to be.
So as we start this New Year, who are some of the characters that you are proud of for how they faced their emotions and came out better? What lesfic authors have touched your hearts with their characters’ challenges? I love being reminded of life through emotions, what about you?