Life after This

So you know those moments that are lives are marked by- sort of like a little tic mark in time? The ones where you think “Wow, there was life before “x” and now there’s life after “x””. They’ll be different for all of us, but we all have them. They could be really big or really small. They could be events that would mark ANYONE’s time, or they could be tiny little things that no one else on the planet would ever even think about. I suspect having a child would be one for most people. Probably also losing one- through abortion, miscarriage, death or other means. Maybe getting a diploma or a job or a raise…although sometimes I think things like that aren’t always as monumental in the moment of the actual “getting” b/c there’s so much that usually leads up to it. The moments I’m thinking of usually have a small element of unexpectedness- either in the “thing” itself or in the realization of how the “it” feels a little different than you thought it would. The act of getting married could be one for some people, although I’m thinking again more of that minute when you realize you are GOING to marry someone- or that you know you don’t ever want to be without them again. I could list a thousand and might cover all of yours, or might not even touch on a single one. I suspect these moments come every minute in hospitals across the world…”I’m so sorry to tell you that “x” (fill in the “x”), OR “I’m so happy to tell you “x” (fill in the “x”). If I know you well, I could probably guess some of them, although you’d probably still have a few known only to you.

In the past several years I’ve had a few of those moments. In the last week- I’ve had two- hence the urge to write. Some of them are experiences marked by the passage of time that seemed to go on forever; some of them were brief flashes- instances in time that changed my life forever. What they all have in common is that moment when you realize, you can’t go back to that time before “this”. Sometimes you don’t want to; sometimes you wonder just what you would or wouldn’t do to be given the chance to go back.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about these “life after this” moments this week and wondering how we fit them into the stories of our lives. How do we take those moments- the good ones and the not so good ones and make sure that they make us stronger, happier- BETTER people for having experienced them? It’s probably easier with the “good” ones although I think there are ways those could be hard too, but it’s the bad ones that probably have more possibility to cripple us. As I’ve thought about it and talked to other people about it, I think what I’ve realized is that the most important thing is just to live them. To really experience them. To close our eyes and say a little thanks and celebrate the good ones- and vow to remember that feeling as the actual moment moves farther away in time. (Does it help when you don’t think you can handle your screaming 2 yo one more minute to remember that moment when you knew your life was forever changed- your eyes full of tears of joy?). But with the not so good ones too I think we have to decide to really experience them. The temptation to ignore them or go into denial mode might be overwhelming, but in the end we have to accept things to move on. And then I think we have to decide how it is that we ARE going to move on. Are we going to trudge through, or pitch a fit and then get over it? Are we going to do it alone, or are we going to let the ones who care about us help? Are we going to live in denial and give ourself excuses to make bad decisions, or are we going to face the situation and move forward slowly and deliberately?

I don’t think there’s necessarily a right or wrong answer here sometimes. For each of us and for each situation, the answer will be different. For me, because I’m a “thinker” I usually need some time to decide how I’m going to let the “thing” change me. I’ve found over time that finding a way to use what happened- whatever it was, good or bad- to help someone else is usually the way I can best mark the thing to add purpose and meaning to my life. No matter who we are, feeling like we aren’t alone or like our experiences matter is important and being that person to make someone else feel like that is pretty amazing.

So- I’m interested in thoughts from others…your “life after THIS” moments, how they’ve changed you, what you’ve learned from them….maybe you’ll be helping someone else learn how to celebrate their moment.

9 thoughts on “Life after This

  1. Dawn November 8, 2010 / 6:27 am

    Oh! And yesterday I had an amazing cupcake- sweet potatoe with toasted marshmallow frosting…it might have been one of those moments 🙂

  2. Dow November 8, 2010 / 7:25 am

    Gotta have one of those cup cakes! Dad

  3. Renee November 8, 2010 / 7:40 am

    All so true Dawn. My prayer over the years when faced with those life altering moments: "God when this is over, and I know that it will have an end, please don't let me be the same person on the other side that I am now. Complete in me what you have started, use this to make me more Christ-like." And He is faithful!

  4. Edie November 8, 2010 / 9:19 am

    I love you! The timing is perfect in your pondering and sharing with us. TONIGHT…I had an 'x' moment…I almost missed my opportunity to be used…and changed. I WANT TO BE DIFFERENT FROM THIS POINT ON! My sensitivity is heightened, my heart is softened and thus "broken and beautiful."

  5. themccann5 November 8, 2010 / 11:48 am

    Of course my "x" moment was the minute I laid eyes on Preston for the first time. I remember seeing his screaming face and being so scared that I refused to even hold him (crazy me!) but at the same time feeling this feeling of love that I had never experienced in my whole life. It was like something in me all of a sudden clicked and in the moment I understood exactly how much our God really loves us. I mean I knew He loved me, but it wasnt until that moment that I actually "got it". I don't really remember much about life before kids, or changing diapers (since I've been doing it non stop for five years), all I remember is thinking that in that one moment, that "x" moment, my life changed forever, and starting that day, that minute, I wanted to be a better person, the person God called me to be.

  6. Anonymous November 8, 2010 / 5:09 pm

    My x moment was the first time I held YOU in my arms. I am actually facing another x moment right now as I am writing this. Reading your post, has really put things in focus. People are always saying, "today is the first day of the rest of my life" but do they really know what they are saying? Starting over or beginning again has become a way of life for me. I thought as I grew older in years, I would be more "settled" but I guess the best way if describing my golden years would be – " He's still working on me"

  7. Anonymous November 8, 2010 / 7:02 pm

    I have had quite a few "x" moments myself. I think the biggest one lately (over 3 years ago) was on my way and then later leaving from signing divorce papers.So many emotions good and bad,how can one feel so much sadness, heartache, and yet feel set free at the same time? How can one feel shame, guilt, crushed and yet be relieved at the same time? How can one cry tears of sadness and tears of joy at the same time? How can one look around her and be so scared and lonely but yet ready to face the world at the same time? I tell ya JESUS is the only way I did it. I could have chosen to lay down and accept defeat and decide that my life was over. Instead I chose Jesus. I chose to let HIM change me. I chose to follow him. I love your posts Dawn. So encourging. Thank You. ~Love, Mandy (Boone) Bass

  8. mandy November 9, 2010 / 7:06 am

    This may seem light or cheesy or whatever, but I think of one of those "x" moments as when I met you. I remember sitting in the peds ward call room writing an intern H&P with you as the resident. You were listening to Cademon's Call or something and we started talking about Christian music and then about life. I can't remember how long it took to finish that H&P but after that moment, I knew I had a new friend who would change my life forever!

  9. Dawn November 9, 2010 / 8:57 pm

    thanks you guys! How encouraging to hear all these things and get little glimpses into everyone's life 🙂 Love you all!

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