I am writing my story. Not just here -- in this place and this space, but my life story. Every day when I awaken, the page is blank for me to fill. How will I fill it? The pen is mine to wield. The choice is mine: Will it be a page of adventure or service or quiet reflection? Like the best books, the best lives contain a variety of moments: those moments of quiet reflection give us time to breathe. As readers, we need those moments after pages of intense action. The same is true in life. After busy days or weeks or seasons, we desperately need moments of quiet reflection to rest and process. We love adventure and it is necessary, too, for an excellent book or a life well-lived. We need our heart pumping, moments of excitement interspersed with trepidation. While I am not the most ADVENTUROUS person, I love traveling and trying new foods. I enjoy the outdoors and music. All of those provide moments of adventure to enhance the story of my life -- new places visited, new foods tried, new paths walked, new goals met, concerts attended and performed, and so much more. The pages of adventure are some of the highlights in our books -- and in our lives. I can choose to fill the page of today with pride and selfishness or I can choose humility and service. I've chosen each, at different times, and that's part of life, too. Even now, at my age, there are still days I struggle with pride and selfishness. Usually now, though, my days and my pages are characterized by service -- kindness and helping. Sometimes I act first and my heart follows a bit behind my hands and feet. I know if I do the right thing for the right reason, my heart will catch up -- even on the days when it would rather wallow in selfishness, bitterness, resentment or pride. I try not to fill my pages with those moments, but I would be lying and hypocritical if I said they don't exist! Those pages teach us to live better -- and remind us that we are all human -- struggling with human weaknesses. They remind us to be kind because we all have those struggles! There are some pages I don't choose, but I have to write them anyway -- these are the mandatory writing assignments -- the moments that choose us. Tragedy, grief, unfairness, persecution, heartbreak. They are the pages we want to skip, but we can't because they help shape the character. We know if we skip these parts, we wont understand the character as well. So we soldier on in our book, as we do in our lives -- with the tears rolling freely and the heart jostling around in pieces. Yes, those moments shape us, strengthen us, and challenge us. We would not be the same without them. Little by little, the tears dry and the heart mends. The scars remain and the memories still sometimes are hard to revisit, but we appreciate those pages and their value in the overall story that is being told. Sometimes it would be nice to be able to leave a page blank and come back to it. When we are waiting, seeking, plagued with indecision. A writer of a novel may have that luxury, but as I'm writing my life story, I don't have that as an option. I woke up this morning and I must live today. 86,400 seconds each day in the story of my life to be used, wielded, and lived. 86,400 seconds to write something of importance. It cannot be rolled back or rolled forward. It is to be lived in the here and now and reflected upon later to help shape and create the next 86,400 seconds. That's how we grow. It is one of the hallmarks of good characters -- they grow! I want to be a character that grows! So I reflect on how I spent this 86,400 seconds and it helps me choose how I spend the next 86,400 . . . little by little and bit by bit I make better choices; I grow. As I do, I impact and influence other characters in the story of my life -- and the story of theirs. They also influence and impact me. Books and lives are meant to be shared. I must admit there are days when I am just going through the motions, keeping time. There are days and pages where my 86,400 seconds were not very memorable or full of significance, but It's not how I want to write my story. I want to end up on the last page -- the last breath -- used up and tired and full of great memories and great lessons. I want to leave behind a shared legacy of a live well-lived and a life book well-written. That's where my faith comes in. It helps me to live well and push forward and persevere. It gives me a higher calling and a reminder that my life book is NOT just for me -- but for all who are watching and all who will come after me. It's a reminder that I'm writing this story to be shared and I want it to be worthy of sharing.
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