Life's challenges can take varying forms. As soon as you declare who you choose to be, the test of your resolve takes shape. But it is not for naught. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
"Picture it: 25 degrees F; -7 degrees C; a few seconds shy of midnight, the bewitching hour; two cell phones, one percent battery life between the two and I am sitting in my barely recognizable car awaiting a long overdue AAA tow truck.
Forty plus miles from home, mercifully not stranded as this is in a bedroom community of NYC, the city that never sleeps, the roar of the cars going by provide me with welcome signs of civilization. I am kept company by riveting prose, the kind that elicits involuntary smiles; the kind rendered archaic by the texting generation in favor of TTYLs and LOLs.
Current President Obama's "Audacity of Hope" is an able companion while I wait for the unhurried "Lightning Towing" to rescue me. Did I mention that with my fuel tank on E, I spent my last few dollars on gas and gave the widow's mite to an unappreciative woman trying to return to a homeless shelter for the night? (At least, that's her story.) I would have felt for her except she did little to disguise her displeasure at the nickel and two dimes I gave her instead of the dollar she demanded.
My frozen unmanicured hands covered by fancy leather gloves betray the constant struggle between the devil and the divine; hallmarks of my entire contradictory existence. My body is shivering but my mind is fixed. I could be annoyed by this harrowing ordeal. I choose instead to remain focused. I'm buoyed by the tenor and pace of the book.
One hour and fifty-five minutes after my initial call, David arrives. I managed to wrangle a name out of him as I introduce myself in the hopes that our shared time would be brief and pleasant. He immediately gets to his duties and makes quick work of the task at hand. I continue reading.
The job finished, all that's left is the completion of paperwork. In the few minutes it takes to print, sign and okay my name and the type of service performed, I garner that David is a disgruntled employee; overworked, overlooked and no doubt, underpaid. Other than a heartfelt thank you, I can add little to his nest egg.
Having beforehand determined that I would offer my benefactor (regardless of who showed up) a particular selected token of appreciation, I am more than a little gratified by David's enthusiastic response. "WOW! I was just looking into something like this," he exclaims as I hand him a still newly packaged DVD set of Wealth Strategies along with my business card.
"Maybe you can think of starting your own business and being your own boss," I encourage, "and call me when you do." He nodded his assent.
I pull out of the gas station, my temporary refuge, sleepy and cold but with my heart warmed at the oft realization that true prosperity has very little to do with how much money one has or does not have in the bank. With the $3.00 worth of gas in my tank, I hope with more audacity than I should have that I will make it to my next stop without once again jeopardizing my fuel pump. Little does David know that I am at once teacher and student, just a few paces ahead on the road to self fulfillment.
I drive off, my snugly fitting gloves providing enough coverage to thaw my hands and hopefully my frozen assets.
The devil and the divine.
Podium, here I come.
"In order to write about life, first you must live it." Ernest Hemingway
"L-I-F-E: It can be a four-letter word or the greatest adventure this side of heaven." Jennifer Lavern
It's in the living of life that situations which present themselves become experiences which, in turn, become memories. According to the Tom Jones lyrical confession "memories don't leave like people do; they always stay with you . . . whether they've been good or bad. . . "
The forthcoming book "A Quote She Wrote" (subtitle, You Don't Have to Look Like What You've Been Through) chronicles the memories of intrepid women who fearlessly recount some of the darkest experiences of their life. Divorce, single motherhood, widowhood, domestic violence, financial loss, substance abuse are a few of the themes that are featured.
Their goal: To share their stories with others to let them know that they are not alone.
The book's goal: To show that it is possible to overcome even the most stubborn obstacles and turn trials into triumph.
The author's goal: As compiler of the stories and one who's endured her fair share of setbacks I'd like to reiterate that even the harshest challenges will eventually become just a memory. Once the lesson is learned you can harness the power to reclaim your life and demonstrate that "You Don't Have to Look Like What You've Been Through."
Jennifer Lavern is a keen observer of the issues that affect how women view themselves and how they interact with their world.