Charlotte van Stolk my friend. We lost her in 2009; but as cheery ghosts are sometimes wont to do, Charlotte came to me out of nowhere the other day.
Do you remember what I said that day, Erin, all those years ago? Do something about it, won't you? Do it the right way.
I do remember. It was at a writers' group meeting. Charlotte offered up a tragic epiphany that went something like this:
It's one of those moments when you finally grasp the true joy and beauty life has to offer and you just want more and more of it--but you know there is only less and less of it.
Those words wrapped around my heart. I thought about all the people who never see the light and those frittering it away and others living in a smoky cloud of negativity. And no matter where you are in the spectrum, the whole damn party is going to come to an end, be it in 30 minutes or thirty years.
To hell with it.
I'm going to stack the deck anyway. I'm going to squeeze everything I can out of the more and more portion of the proceedings. After all, that's what Charlotte did. I'll do it by way of this five-part directive:
-When you're blindingly furious and bitter words well in your throat, close your lips against them. Look deeper. Somewhere in all that spiky emotional poison, there is a gift. It might take years to find it, but it's there. Until you do, never stop battling the blackness.
-Believe in magic.
-When someone calls you a miserable no-good piece-of-$#!+, smile and tell him he's beautiful (he is). Then turn the other cheek.
-Lift your face skyward and stare into the perfect truth that is the sky. You are one tiny dot before all of infinity and that trumps everything.
-When you think you need them the most, don't ask for prayers, give them instead.
So, good pilgrim, that ought to get us started. Onward to 2014. Onward into the endless desert, the towering mountains and the screaming maelstrom.
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