Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Sometimes when I look around, I see a lot of lost people. Some are justifiably sad—tragedy is happening to them right now. Some have had past losses, and they look to those dark days as the reason why they are still living without joy.
Others are just taking life day by day, waiting for something, the One Big Thing they’ve always imagined, and regularly seem to sink when another night comes, and it hasn’t happened.
I had lost years myself. I spent my twenties in pursuit of nothing special. A whole decade of stumbling around, switching jobs, always wanting something else. The not-now. The better-down-the-road.
Then something big DID happen. Not a book deal or a lottery or sudden fame. The worst sort of thing. As I rolled down what would be considered an ordinary life—marriage-first-house-pregnancy, my baby died. Just died.
This is where my road divided. I had three choices:
- Feel stuck and bitter and grief stricken.
- Pretend it never happened and move forward.
- Turn this moment into my personal call to a life that mattered.
Everyone who is reading this blog knows what I did. I changed everything. Since then I’ve given speeches, run web sites, written books, and made myself as available as possible to any Baby Loss Mom who approached me. It’s been 14 years—coming up on 15 very soon and I haven’t slowed down one bit.
I was lucky. I recognized when life handed me a purpose. Loud and clear I got the message that this terrible event was the thing that could save me. And while I’d certainly trade my life now for the life I could have had with Casey, I made sure, absolutely sure, that I never doubted why I had been brought on this planet, and why he had, so briefly, made his small appearance.
I can tell you — there is a reason for you too. Somewhere in your life there has been or will be a Call to Action. My hope is that everyone sees it when it comes. And that it not only gets you through whatever is happening — life, death, poverty, oppression, bullying, loss, overwhelm — but that you grow so much from it that you expand and envelop others who can learn from what you have endured.
My wish is that you too can take your experiences and turn them into action, mold your life into a passion, review what you have survived and bring about change.
It’s in everyone. The tall and the small. Elizabeth is only ten and she gets it — she made her whole class study epilepsy last year and over half of them chose the Epilepsy Foundation as their non-profit to support in the community service. One purple scarf given to her last month means dozens more will be made in her Knitting Club to give to other kids.
Look around you. Look at yourself. Take what is difficult and turn it into good. Learn from what you did wrong and lift a stumbling block from someone else.
Be the change you’re looking for.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.
Martin Luther King, Jr.