Who Stole My Life?

Movie TheatreOur ability to focus on what is truly important in life is sadly at its greatest when we are dying. For so much of our lives we worry about things that we cannot change or we bury ourselves in details, never seeing the bigger picture. Most of us have no idea how much time we have left, but still we find meaningless ways to “pass the time.”

Since I started telling people I was writing a book, the most common response has been, “There is a book inside me too.”

That’s true. There is a book inside every one of us. It is the book we write everyday. It has a beginning, a middle and it has an end. And you do not know the ending; you do not know what twists and turns the plot may take; you do not know what characters may enter or leave the storyline.

At first, I wrote my book to help me find dressings for the open wounds that were my “childhood.” I wanted people to feel sorry for the little boy who suffered all of that abuse and horror in the midst of addiction and insanity. I wanted people to be amazed at how I survived, how I made something of myself. I wanted people to laugh with me at the hilarious characters who were my relatives.

And as those words found their way onto the page, I realized something: every emotional detail of my childhood was still alive. The fears and abuse were still living inside my head. The ghosts of my childhood were still haunting me.

But I realized something even more profound: twenty years of my adult life were missing. I had been sleepwalking through my adult years by numbing myself from those childhood horrors. The story of my life had a beginning but it had no middle. I had surrendered my life to the banality of a meaningless job, the drudgery of monthly bills and the anesthetizing effect of the daily cocktail hour.

Someone had stolen my life. And I was the thief.

That’s when my life took on a new meaning. I could not waste another minute. For the first time, I wanted to do something that actually mattered, something I loved doing and something that made a positive difference to other people’s lives.

No one can give me back those missing years. But I am never going to waste another minute of my time. So now, I can’t sleep because I am too excited about being here in this life, doing something that I love and making a difference. And if you can’t sleep, you can’t sleepwalk through life.

There is a book inside every one of us. It is being written every day. Don’t leave any pages blank.

Make it memorable until the end.

A Difficult Day

Sad DogYou always had to tell Miss Jones the truth because she could read your mind and she knew if you were lying. She was our school teacher and she said that five-year-olds are not very good liars. That’s why Jimmy Grundle confessed that the puddle on the floor was not in fact where he had knocked over his jam jar of water for his paintbrushes but was actually where he had peed himself. It wasn’t really his fault because he had his hand up and was hopping from leg to leg trying to get Miss Jones’ attention but she was very busy showing us how to make orange paint by mixing red and yellow together. She said you can also make green by mixing yellow and blue.

Only the week before, she made Gary Gordon admit that he was the one who had done a number two in the boys toilet, and not in the sit-down place. He said there was only one sit-down toilet working and someone was in it and he couldn’t hold it in any longer so he used the urinal. We all rushed to take a look at it during playtime. Mr. Clegg, the janitor, wasn’t happy. He had to get it out with his mop.

I knew it was going to be a difficult day because when we got to the school gate, Daisy was lying there on the ground all broken with one of her eyes hanging out and her hair was matted down on her head like a swimming cap. And her lips were on the wrong side of her face.  It made her look like she was trying not to kiss someone. She was beautiful before she was burned like that and the girls took turns to brush her hair. There were lots of toys and books lying beside her, black and burned. But Daisy made the girls cry.

“That’s what happens when you play with fire! Do not ever play with fire!” Miss Jones said.

Some big boys had started that fire by throwing a petrol bomb through the school hall window. Now there was no doll for the girls to play with because Daisy was burned. And Miss Jones wanted to know if we had any idea who could have done such a thing. We had no idea. It was the truth.

Miss Jones said it had been a very difficult day and we could all go home early so I walked back home from school with my little sister. It was only a mile and we had to hold hands, but only to cross the street because I was not going to hold hands with a girl. You absolutely must look both ways and listen before you cross but a few weeks before I forgot and was run down by a man on a bicycle. He picked me up and told me to watch where I was going. Luckily, he missed my sister. Nana said it was also lucky that he was on a bike and not driving a bus.

You don’t always know if you are going to have a difficult day.

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