New Castle News

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December 17, 2012

Lisa Madras: Life goes on, you know — but will you?

NEW CASTLE — What is the simplest truth you can express in words?

Life is full of simple truisms: You are what you eat ... Nothing ventured, nothing gained ... Actions speak louder than words ... Measure twice, cut once. (You'd think I'd remember that one eventually.)

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you'd probably assume that my simplest truth would be "Bad decisions make great stories." Heaven knows I have plenty of both. But we all know that I spend a great portion of my time searching for the simplest truths in life. It is what I write about week after week, after all. And you must like them, too — at least a little bit — because you're here again reading. (By the way, thank you for that.)

Writing this blog has been such a healing process for me. It's been over a year now that I've been doing this, and luckily I haven't run out of questions to ask. What I have run out of, at times, is inspiration, or even the will to write something inspiring, least of all to myself.

I've had weeks where all I wanted to do was crawl under a mountain of blankets and make the world go away, either because I was sick, or in pain, or depressed, or just plain tired. But I have children who depend on me to do the best I can, regardless of the circumstances. I also have a job to do, which in part is this blog, and that job needs to be done whether I feel like it or not.

And so I've had to resist the urge to check out for a spell, and get on to the tasks of being a mom and being a writer. No matter what happens, there are always meals to be prepared, children to be hugged, homework to be checked, and blogs to be written.

No matter what happens, life goes on. And that, my friends, is the simplest truth I can express in words. Unless you check out for real (and I'm talking pine-box-for-real), life goes on. It goes on through the pain and the sadness and the worry, and it has little compassion for self-pity.

If you're lucky, tomorrow will be better than yesterday. If you're really lucky, next year will be better than the last. If you're smart, though, you MAKE it better. You bake smiley faces into the pancakes, you hold onto the hugs for a few extra seconds, and you write all the things you want to believe until they become your truth.

Eventually, as life goes on, the wounds heal over and the scars become badges of honor — little pinkish reminders that you survived, and that you'll survive the next 10 or 10,000 tragedies or injustices.

Don't ever forget this simple truth when you feel like giving up. Life, for the most part, is tedious and meaningless. That's just the way it works.  But every once in a while you encounter a miracle of epic proportions, like the sound of your child laughing, or a perfectly-baked peach pie, or the smell of peppermint hand soap in the office bathroom. These are the things you'll miss if you decide to spend your time under a mountain of blankets wishing the world away.

Life is going to go on. We might as well, too.

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