“One damn thing after another!” I’ve been repeating these words too often lately. True, I have ample cause to feel this way, ranging from the illness of someone I love, to fear about our ailing country. My negative words have met with “sure is” agreement from everybody – with one exception. For recently they drew a different response when I was talking with a Colorado woman named Amy Marks. After thinking about it for a moment she said, “I don’t see life that way. I find that things come and go.”
Since Amy has always struck me as remarkably well-balanced (and someone I’m proud to call my daughter- in- law), I thought maybe she’s on the right track. At least, a better track than I’ve been on recently. She went on to explain that her “come and go” philosophy is her way of “finding a balance between negative fatalistic thinking and overly enthusiastic ‘sunshine and puppies.’”
Her words set me thinking about the ways we’re all so quick to assume total disaster. How often when a friendship hits a bump in the road we decide it’s over forever. Or when a relationship does end, how certain we are that we’ll never be loved again. Or find a better job. Or. . . .
As writers we know that rejection of our manuscript can plunge us into, “It will never be published.” That “never” view is even worse when a story we’re struggling with stays lifeless on the page or screen. This invariably sends us downhill to , “I can’t even write anymore.”
My first short story was rejected 28 times. I told my writing group I was giving up on it. A new man in the group seemed surprised at my attitude. “Twenty-eight?”
he said. “That’s nothing. My stories have beeen turned down 30, 40 times before being accepted.” Though doubtful, I sent my story off again “one last time.” It was published.
Of course, this doesn’t happen every time. Nor do friends who’ve abandoned us always do a turn-around. Or a new lover or job magically surface. So what do you do during those times when life is undeniably grim?
One survival key, Amy offers, is to “remind yourself there have been good times before and there will be again — even if it’s as small as reading a news story that makes you smile (rare these days!) or waking up to a sunny day in December.”
Focusing on a temporary view isn’t guaranteed to solve every problem, but it may keep us from seeing life through perennially dark glasses.
BOOKS: Widow’s Walk – available through iUniverse.com; Turning Toward Tomorrow –Xlibris.com; Ten Women of Valor and Role Play- both available through CreateSpace.com and Amazon.com, also Amazon Kindle.