Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Life and Death

Nothing makes us cling so intensely to life than facing death, a near death experience of our own or the lose of a loved one. Such has been the case for me recently when I lost a good friend whom I had known for forty years. She was a young woman, active in her church as well as her sorority and other organizations. Gracious and graceful in her handling of many events, she was the president of our sisterhood. I never heard her say an unkind word to anyone or about anyone. She was brave through a battle over several years against cancer, never seeking or wanting pity. To think she's no longer here is too difficult to contemplate.

So I find myself saying prayers of thanksgiving to God that I'm still here, that my family members whom I love so much are alive and well. Then you feel selfish for having such thoughts, then you tell yourself, not to rejoice would be selfish. God has given us life and even in death, we must celebrate life.

Finally, that takes me to my writing. There I am god. I consider whether my characters live or die and I've done so callously in the past, but in the future I will think twice about the importance of life and even in the importance of death and how it will affect the characters in my books. For when a reader picks up your book, she's looking for more than a few hours of entertainment, she's expecting to find honesty in your words, in the emotions you evoke on behalf of your characters. We live through our characters, writer and reader alike, so there can be no sham, just as there should never be in life and never is in death. Those are moments of such complete honesty, when we must face our mortality and look to God for our salvation, when we must face the lose of that loved one and let them go.

Never give up is a term we hear often. It's said with such fierceness. Never give up! But inevitably and finally, we must give up, give up our loved ones and in doing so, learn to give up our own life in the end and face the unknown of the grave, trusting that God is truly there for us. Never give up until you have to, then we must take a page from those who go before us. We must learn from their gracefulness and bravery. We must learn to give up.

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