Every year I like to look back on what I have gleaned from my experiences so I can look forward to fresh things in the next year with a little more wisdom and joy. This year, I really didn’t know what I was going to say until just now. My husband was in a health crisis most of the year, my health was in trouble too because I got so burned out dealing with the ongoing crisis, and there were plenty of emotional upheavals as well, including my best friend’s cancer surgery and my mentor’s unexpected passing–the second mentor of mine to pass away in less than 2 years. It was hard to comprehend what was happening to me and the people I love.
Then I let go.
I had a significant conflict with my mother earlier in the year, at the end of which I finally realized that I was doing the very thing I was trying to tell her not to do to me, which was trying to force her to be the person I wanted her to be. I finally let go of my dream that we could have the type of relationship I wanted, which honestly broke my heart in the process, and I kid you not at the moment I said out loud “I’m letting go,” I had a vision of myself spiraling up through clouds. It was that profound of a change in my life to let go of these unmet needs and expectations. And my work suddenly surged forward. I wrote two novels and a short story collection in just 6 months shortly after this situation resolved. And I’m just beginning to learn all the ways God can meet my need for love when I don’t need to dictate how he does it. Whoa.
I really didn’t want letting go to apply to my husband’s health, because all I was trying to do was keep him alive, but I did finally realize that however awful it would be, I could live without the people I love the most in my life. And I could deal with crazy life-threatening circumstances without understanding what was happening to me. And something in me let go, and I was flooded with joy. Like stupid run around laugh when the world is melting joy. Real joy. Priceless joy.
I then reached a point in my writing where I felt like I couldn’t get any better than I was at my word craft for the moment, until this epiphany about letting go made me realize that I was holding back in really letting my true self show up in my novels, and even in my pitch letters, because I was still afraid that my stories weren’t enough, and that my personality and gifts weren’t enough to offer the world. I started re-editing my novel with more of me showing up on the page and not being afraid to be seen, and holy cow what a powerful difference. I plan to write a pitch letter like no one is ever going to read it, to really explain what is in my heart for helping people with my fiction, and then send it so someone does read it. I honestly felt like God was saying to me, “I’m so proud of you. I love you. Just let go.”
So I let go.
And 2013 is going to be quite a ride.
What did you bring away from 2012? It was a crazy year, am I right? It just seemed like the kind of year that could go down as the worst ever or the greatest opportunity for change. I hope I chose change as often as possible. Many blessings on you and yours in the new year, and I hope to be able to offer you my first novel to read in the spring, with many more novels and short stories to follow as quickly as I can get them edited. I love my life, and I love my job, and I love you. Thanks for hanging in there with me.
Laura K. Cowan