February 1, 2010

The Great Good Thing

"Sylvie had an amazing life, but she didn't get to live it very often."  
-- The Great Good Thing, by Roderick Townley

I've been thinking about life and story quite a bit lately and how they mesh together.  How we create our own life stories.  Not to say, we have control over everything.  Someone getting cancer does not have control of that tragic turn in their story.  But, we do get to shape how we deal with those conflicts.  Much like a character showing bravery in a dark moment, we can show bravery.  Or not.

One of my Uncles died last night.  I wasn't close to him but I knew enough his story to be sad.  Heartbroken at a young age because of the death of his wife in an ice-related car accident, he never recovered.  He was the one driving.  And he was unconscious during her funeral.  His wife was my mother's sister--my name sake.  But the saddest part is that he chose not to live after that.  He quit life.  He withdrew.  Nothing mattered past that moment of losing her.  He lived a bitter, angry life.  That said, I've never lost someone that dear to me, so who's to say I wouldn't do the same.  But even so, it makes me sad.

I hope at the end of my life no one will say, "Catherine had an amazing life, but she didn't (choose to) live it very often."

What do you hope will be said of you?


  1. I'm so sorry about your uncle's death and the sadness he carried through life.
    It could be so easy to let heartbreaking circumstances cause us to be bitter. Bitterness so often comes from unforgiveness and one of the hardest people to forgive is ourselves. We need to give ourselves some slack to make mistakes.
    I desire that people would say of me that no matter the circumstances I was dealing with I found a way to have joy. That I loved the Lord and I loved people.
    Thanks for the thought provoking post.

  2. Powerful words today. I was thinking about this same exact thing this weekend! In fact.. here's my journal entry from Saturday!

    "I cannot turn the world's clock forward. I can only continue perfecting my craft, finding my process. Whatever happens... happens. The only thing that I want to be able to say on my deathbed is that I tried; I worked my ass off; I gave it everything I had; I chased after my dreams with unfaltering tenacity and humble patience. I NEVER GAVE UP. More than that... I'm not sure I have much control over more than that."

    So there you have it... a little peek into my personal thoughts that just fit too perfectly with your post today! :D (We're geniuses!)

  3. But, we do get to shape how we deal with those conflicts.

    I love that comment and that truly is the test in life.

  4. My sincere condolences, Catherine. I'm sorry to hear that your Uncle was unable to live his life to the fullest after he lost his wife. It is a reminder to us all, not to take a day for granted and to make the most of life no matter what.

  5. I love that quote. I'm sure we all need to work on truly living our lives. So sorry about your uncle - sad that he never got past the bitterness.

  6. I'm very sorry to hear about your uncle. My friend just informed me yesterday that his own father was in a critical car accident and would likely dying yesterday. I haven't heard from him yet on the outcome, but it reminds me of the sadness that can be in this world. To answer your question, honestly, I hope people will say that I was always trying to make people smile and that I loved God. If anyone remembers those two things, then I couldn't ask for a better legacy.

  7. I'm not sure how or if I would adapt were I to suffer such tragedy (and I can't imagine the interminable guilt your uncle felt.) It's easy to go down that road. Adversity is a painful executor of character. Great quote, and thanks for sharing.

  8. Diane Marie, it's so hard to give ourself room to mess up, isn't it? Great words.
    Valerie, "Never Gave UP"--I love that. It's one thing that IS in your control. And yes, we are geniuses. ;)
    Patti, yes it is and I fail it quite often.
    Elle, so true. I've been reminded how great I've got it today.
    Mary, it's so true. I forget to "live" on many days.
    Voidwalker, I'm so sorry for your friend. Great legacy.
    Bane, yes he did carry a lot of guilt (and blame)and I can't imagine how that would feel.

  9. That is sad. I'm sorry for your loss. I worry often that my life is passing me by as I sit and stare out the passenger side window. Sad.

  10. Bttrfly, me too. I think it's time we got out of the car.

  11. I'm so sorry to hear about your uncle. *bloggy hug* You don't have to be super close to someone to be sad when they die; their death is still a loss.

    Great quote, and thanks for mentioning that we can't control our circumstances, but we can control our response. It's an empowering thought I like to think on bad days.

  12. I am sorry for your loss and for your uncle's unhealed grief and anger. I shudder to think how much of life is lost in regrets and recrimination.
    I read a short story once that chilled me. I'm sorry I don't recall the title and I think it was by Neil Gaiman. I may get it wrong, but if I do it's the way it hit me that resonated. So here's the gist: A man is destined to return again and again to a room of torture. He enters and sees the implements of pain and the man who will use them on him yet again. It is so terrifying. I felt I was in that room, suffering with him. But the story's twist at the end is after all these times, he comes to recognize the man: himself.
    So I hope I will not be remembered for my mistakes, but for my determined will to keep reaching for dreams and working hard. Oh, and that I was a good storyteller and loved the sea.

  13. I'm sorry for your loss. It is sad that he chose not to live life after his wife's death. I'm with you; I don't ever want anyone to say that I chose not to live life.

  14. Sarah, thanks for the hug. :)
    Tricia, that story gave me chills. When you said, "loved the sea" it reminded me of Sarah Plain and Tall.
    Susan, yeah I'm hoping they say I lived lovingly and vibrantly.

  15. shelli never gave up on her dream and always encouraged others to reach for theirs.

  16. I'm sorry about your uncle. I hope for me, people can say that I lived and laughed. I love to laugh, and make people laugh and listen to other people laugh. It makes me happy. Reminds me of the happiness in the world.

  17. I'm sorry about your uncle too. Poor guy.

  18. Shelli, that fits you.
    Elana, you always make ME laugh.
    Myrna, thank you.

  19. What a tragic life. I feel sad just reading about it.

    I hope my kids say I was a great mom--that they always knew I loved them. Besides that I don't really care what people say. :)


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