Life on a Line
August 3, 2016
While working on the website development, my next task up was to create her life/timeline. Should be easy I figured, with 5 biographies written about her and a robust amount of information at hand, I thought to myself: I’ve got this.
But like the fact that I can’t “just” enjoy the goldfish in the bowl: I have to ponder his happiness, where he came from, if he misses his family and if he needs more from me than just flakes, in typical Keri fashion, I am probably TOTALLY OVERTHINKING THIS.
Is a timeline that flash-before-your-eyes thing just before death that you see in the movies? Should it include your regrets or just your successes?
Just the facts I kept telling myself. It is supposed to be a quick “snapshot” of her life. But somehow, the responsibility of telling her life on just one line…seemed overwhelming.
How do you choose between what you put on it and what gets left off?
Would Frances feel the same things I think were important in her life, were as important as they are to us today?
Would she have put other things on there that the perhaps we don’t even know about?
How can one line sufficiently sum up a life? And I don’t know about your life…but her life and mine surely haven’t been FLAT lines. Right? More appropriately, life typically looks like a seismic graph of an earthquake.
The questions in my head were just spinning…and perhaps it was just my internal stall tactic kicking in to put off getting this timeline done, but I couldn’t seem to “let it go”. (Can anyone say those three words and not sing them anymore?)
Here is the deal:
It’s NOT just the big wins, things you did well, or your accomplishments that makes you “YOU”, though this is usually the only thing that makes the timeline.
So many times, it’s just the opposite that has helped to shape your life the most.
My life/timeline would be incomplete with these CRAZY important times in my life:
- The book not read.
- The degree I didn’t get.
- The words not spoken.
- The award I didn’t get.
- The ring I didn’t take.
- The path I didn’t walk.
- The prayer that wasn’t answered.( I loved that song Unanswered Prayers by Garth Brooks)
- The things I never finished. (click to read more about that)
- The pictures I didn’t take.
- The race I didn’t win.
- The lonely nights in silence so I could hear God’s whispers.
These are not the lightning bolt moments that are worthy of a timeline…but still so important to who I am.
And I want to celebrate those –NOTs and DIDN’Ts too!! They are sorely misrepresented in the history of a life. They molded me, pushed me forward, and gave me the tools I needed to take the next big step.
For Frances, perhaps her timeline might be missing these:
- The dress she didn’t wear.
- The education she didn’t have.
- The books she didn’t write.
- The love she didn’t have.
- The garden that didn’t bloom.
- The father she didn’t know.
- The words she couldn’t write.
- The trips she couldn’t take.
“Between the lines of every story there is another story, and that is one that is never heard and can only be guessed at by the people who are good at guessing.”
Frances Hodgson Burnett, A Little Princess
I am only guessing as good as I can, but my gut says that Frances was so much more than any timeline can capture…and so am I, and so are YOU.
We are, the GOOD, the BAD…and sometime the UGLY too. We are real.
I remember as a kid, thinking everyone else was perfect, but me. Did you feel this way too? My parents, I was convinced, never messed up, ever…in their whole life. So, when I did, I felt this terrible loneliness and guilt. The day that bubble busted in high school, changed my life. My father, after I got caught drinking “wine coolers” at a football game, admitted that he too “drank when he was my age, but wasn’t stupid enough to get caught”. What??
In an instant: He was now real, and I was OK…normal even. Whew!
With all of this questioning and ranting, her timeline I decided, will stay the simple snapshot of her life. But through the blogs about her life, I will share the real Frances, the one who was not “just” those things on her timeline…because she was so much more.
She was generous and lonely, successful and ill, love starved and funny, the life of the party, compassionate to a fault, but most of all she was REAL.
LET’S CHAT ABOUT IT:
Think about your own timeline…what would you place on it?
What are the things about your life that you want others to remember when you are gone?
Would sharing your downs, didn’ts, wasn’ts and nevers be helpful to others?
I pray that by sharing the ups and downs and things in between of both of our lives here on FHB and Me,
that you too will see, as my friend and yoga instructor Leslie says that:
“You fine and good wherever you are”.
FHB and especially Me