A year ago, I was working on the edits to my memoir including writing the preface. I thought a long while about what I would say in that opening portion of my memoir, how I wanted to speak to my readers.
The paragraph that I ‘sat with’ for a long time was worded like this in that final draft that’s now in the book:
“I don’t know what you’re struggling with, what situation may have you feeling paralyzed by fear and uncertain of your direction. Perhaps you’ve experienced a crushing break up, or you’re going through grief after the loss of someone you loved, or trying to make sense of what seems like an unforgivable betrayal.” In the next paragraph, I invited my readers to come along with me on the journey.
Now, I read those words and feel it’s true for me on this unexpected path.
I had no idea that I was also writing the preface to myself; there was never even a tiny glimpse of what my life is like a year later. Along with my readers, I’ll need to revisit Psalm 40 verses 1-3 and remember the promise for that time still holds for me today. God will pull me up and place my feet on a rock; eventually I will have a new song in my heart.
Last year I listened to hours of podcasts on Indie Publishing. They included how to get your manuscript ready, building your launch team, marketing etc. I knew I, as a company of one, didn’t have the energy to do everything they recommended. While some of the podcast speakers talked about what can go wrong with launches, none of them mentioned everything falling apart when you’re knocked down just twenty-three days after your Launch.
That day, in the warm, supportive, enthusiastic environment of my home community, I had no idea what was about to happen.
Now, I look back over the last few months and all the energy it takes to deal with the grief of losing my marriage; I’ve put my book to the side to deal with reality. One of my writer friends told me that when she went through divorce, she stopped writing for a year. When I’ve helped folks through loss, and they’ve asked how long that grief process will take, I have responded, “It takes as long as it takes.” That’s true for me, too; there’s no set time frame for going through this very individual situation.
Gradually I’m getting up from being knocked down. I’ve worked on a couple of chapters of my memoir’s sequel and I’m slowly catching up on tasks of my writing business. Recently, I felt my energy lift when I scheduled a book reading and signing with a local Rotary club. I’ll have to be more measured with how much energy I can expend on writing with the new demands on my life. Now, I’ll need to be more content with slow and steady progress– but that’s better than just letting everything drop.
For me, as it is for others, there are times when our goals and dreams are sidetracked. It takes energy to get back into the flow of pursuing that dream and focus to concentrate on the action steps to make it a reality. Energy and focus are both lost when you receive shocking news that changes your life.
Recently I was looking through a book I’d read several years ago and found a card stuffed between the pages. I guess it was one I’d bought for someone but failed to send. Now, I’m glad I have this visual inspiration and will keep it for myself. I like the collage-like design and the quote:
Last week’s post was about being present while at the same time looking to the future. Just like when I wrote that paragraph for the memoir’s preface, I wonder how this Hugo quote will apply to my life as well as yours. Whether we’ve had unexpected disruption in our marriage, diagnosis of cancer or some other disease, a cross-country move, or some other situation that greatly changes our lives, how do we continue toward our dream? How do we keep plodding toward that goal and refusing to give up no matter how sidetracked we’ve become?
My hope is that each of us will find a way to keep moving toward our dreams, finding the hope we need to keep going forward to that future we’ve imagined.
And when we arrive, may we celebrate with great joy our steadfast pursuit, in spite of what sidetracked us momentarily.
How About You?
Have you had a dream interrupted by an unforeseen change in your life?
How can you get back up and take the steps that are needed to see the fulfillment of that dream?
My Memoir is available in Paperback and Ebook
15 thoughts on “Sidetracked Dreams: Getting Back on Track”
You and your words are amazing & give help – I hope for yourself as well
Thanks so much. It does help for me to write in order to try and make sense of things. I always feel better if somehow it helps someone else, too. We count on people sharing the truth so when something happens to us, we at least have a reference point, we know we’re not alone because someone else has told us about that path.
Thanks for reading. Best to you!
You are taking the steps. As slow as you need to be.
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Thanks, Ted. It seems that even though you’re still partially in a state of disbelief, you have to move forward. Guess that’s true for all kinds of losses in our lives.
Best to you,
Love and light to you. Grief does take as long as it takes. You will adjust to your new life on your timetable. ❤️
Thanks so much, Abigail. I feel that light and love. I know you’ve dealt with your own losses and speak from that wisdom. I’ll keep remembering your words, “You will adjust to your new life on your own timetable.” So helpful.
Best to you, and Thanks,
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. I can relate to your shock and pain. When I’ve been grieving, I remember a friend’s words to me to “ be gentle with yourself.” That isn’t my first inclination as a Nurse who has to “ be strong “ in the face of often sad and tragic circumstances. I love the way you write and look forward to reading your book. Take care. Blessings to you,
Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts. I appreciate you reminding me to “be gentle with myself.” Like you, as a nurse, I’m used to having to be strong– but now that does not serve me well. I need to fall back into that soft place of taking care of myself.
I’m so glad you’re going to read my book. I hope it’s a blessing to you.
Connie thanks once again for your wonderful insight with coping with life.Each situation has its own healing process.We use all our resources that we can find to get through each situation. Our lives change from day to day but God is right there with us . Take one day at a time and keep helping others with your words of wisdom !!!!You are truly a blessing to so many and to ME! I am praying for you and you got this ! Love you !
When you say, “You’ve got this” it bring tears of happiness to my eyes! You offered the same amazing support in those anxious weeks before my Book Launch.
I feel your support, prayers that you offer up for me that have helped me feel those invisible, but real, arms of God holding me in my sorrow. We all have our sad seasons, and it helps to hear from another person and be reminded that while life has unexpected changes, God is always there.
Love to you!
Dear Connie – how wonderful that you used the words you need to hear now, when you wrote the introduction to your book. I agree with Abigail, that grief takes as long as it takes – and you’ve been there before, when you were diagnosed with cancer – so you know that you can do this. The most important thing is to take good care of yourself and be guided through this. Sending much love. ❤
Thanks so much, Julia, for your kind and supportive words. You and I share in that community of Breast Cancer Survivors–the collective wisdom of that journey. I appreciate the reminder to take care of myself. I seem to need that reminder often!
Best to you,
Connie, You always let us know how you are and then you help up see where we are. You are an inspiration to many and for me, you take me into the next week. When dealing with a loss, there is a need to re-visit and analyze the outcome. This is a good thing, only if it does not become the norm. You have exhibited the strength beyond that of most people. I pray that you will be aware of when to move on to be the Connie the Survivor”. Much love and support I offer you in my daily thoughts.
Thanks so much for reading and for sharing your thoughts. You’re right that we have to balance looking at the outcome and not getting stuck there.
I do have glimpses of the future. There are times I’d just like to ‘jump there’ and be over with the processing part. I know I’ll get there and I’m just trying to ‘go with the flow’ and when it feels like I’ve examined things long enough, then I’ll move on.
Best to you this week,