Thursday, April 14, 2011
Though my heart aches – feels not just broken but smashed into bits – and I cry at the drop of a hat whenever I see a piece of Marge's reddish fur floating around, look down expecting to see her at my feet, or still call for her to go on a walk – I try to remember what author, icon, animal lover and my friend Rita Mae Brown told me once again when I visited her farm – which was filled with dogs, kennels, horses and cats – last fall.
"Dogs don't know how much time they have left; they live in the moment. And what a blessing that is. Humans spend so much time fearing death, fearing the end, that we lose sight of the now, this very moment. If we could only be like dogs, even for a day."
I think of how blessed I was to have Marge for nearly 14 years. She changed me for the better. She taught me to love without abandon, to hug tightly, to live in the moment. Because that’s all we have.
I’ve been overwhelmed by the support Gary and I have received this week. Hundreds of you have reached out to us to express your condolences, your heartbreak, your sadness, your own stories. And, for that, I am thankful. We are linked not only by our love and kindness but by our pets.
I was struck by a number of stories this week, including a woman who lost her fiancée suddenly and hadn’t been able to laugh until she read one of my books. And there was a woman who expressed her sympathies about Marge and stated she wanted to attend my May writing retreat but was terrified to do so.
To her – and in honor of Marge – I say: LIVE IN THE MOMENT!
Life is short. Our time here is precious. An important part of our journey should be taking risk, tackling our fear, challenging ourselves, running – with wild abandon, as Marge used to – toward the future.
Right now, I am scared.
It has been a brutal past two years. First, my mom. Now, my Marge. My two best girls are gone forever. Why would God take my two best friends so soon? How could He test me so harshly and frequently?
I have lost so many, that I have become guarded. I worry that as soon as I become close to someone, I will lose him or her again.
But, I know I have to take that risk. It’s what makes life precious and special.
My mom and Marge were two of the few I could talk to without fear, knowing I would receive unconditional love. Take that away, and what are we left with?
I learned from my mom -- a nurse and woman of great faith -- that is the nature of unconditional love.
You take the good with the bad. Death is simply a part of life. Only by risking your heart, your soul, can you find true love, true joy, true happiness.
And, that’s what I hope to give back to aspiring writers coming to my workshop in May.
Only by risking your heart and your soul can you find true joy and happiness.
I can’t wait to lead my writers through exercises that will force them to tackle their fears, face their own discomfort, and unearth that unique voice that can change the world.
That’s what writing and loving is all about.
But it’s worth it. No matter how hard it is sometimes.
There is still time for you to take a risk, and live in the moment.
Wade’s Writers (www.wadeswriters.com) kicks off its initial, intensive multi-day writing retreat in less than a month (May 12) in Saugatuck, Michigan, my stunningly beautiful little resort town.
You will write. You will laugh. You will cry. You will become a different person.
You will write. You will eat amazing food. You will drink amazing wine. You will site-see. And you will take a risk.
I urge you to join me. As I learn to risk my heart again, I urge you to risk yours, too.
Let’s live in the moment.