Your Story Matters

“In life you get what you put in. When you make a positive impact in someone’s life, you also make a positive impact on yours.”

Author Unknown

The inspiration for my writing can come to me in many different ways. On days that I don’t have a specific subject or issue in mind I frequently use journal prompts. They are often quick one-liners that invite me to open my journal and quickly reflect my thoughts. I am also inspired by the things that I read. Whether it is a book or an article, when the subject matter touches my heart I like to explore it deeper through my writing.

Something else that inspires my writing are my past and present experiences. A difficult season, a happy occasion and people are all inspirations to me. These are the inspirations that I love to write about the most because I am compelled to look at myself candidly and bring my thoughts and emotions to life on paper.

Out of the blue the name Mr. Murphy popped into my mind. Thinking about him surprised me because I hadn’t thought much about him over the past thirty years. His name felt like it was whispered to me and because of that I didn’t dismiss my thought. I listened to it.

I have learned to listen to the ‘whispers’ in my life because time and time again they have proven to be a source of learning for me. Mr. Murphy was my high school band teacher. He was passionate about teaching. He loved his job and strived to encourage the best in each of his students. His humor was great, he loved his family and he loved life.

When I graduated from high school I never thought I would see Mr. Murphy again. I didn’t give high school too much thought after graduation. About a year after I graduated, a friend told me that Mr. Murphy was sick and I felt in my heart that I wanted to go see him. There was a feeling of nostalgia as I walked back into the band room. It was wonderful seeing him again.

When I first saw him I immediately knew that he was sick because all of his hair was gone. We sat in his office and talked and I was truly saddened when he told me that he had terminal brain cancer. I was also in awe over the fact that he was still working. He told me that cancer wasn’t going to stop him from doing what he loved and that he would work as long as he possibly could.

Through our conversation he taught me a profound lesson that still impacts me today: Life is precious and we never know what direction it will take us. We should never take anything for granted. Life is a blessing and we all have purpose no matter what our circumstances may be. Live every day to the fullest and never be afraid to inspire and impact others.

It amazes me how certain things can be perfectly timed in our life. Thinking about Mr. Murphy and the invaluable wisdom from our conversation so many years ago couldn’t have come at a better time.

As I reflect on the lessons I learned from Mr. Murphy I am inspired to look deeper into my chronic illness. I have learned so much about myself since I became ill -- Things that I would have never learned if I hadn’t become sick. There is a desire in my heart to share what I have experienced. I think there is a level of wisdom that is gained as we walk through the difficulties of life. What I have learned as I have walked through the darkness of my illness is worthy of sharing.

I have done a lot of writing in my life, but never in the form of a book. My inspiration has come from the difficulties I have experienced because of my illness. When I became ill, I was unable to find the support to help guide me through what I was facing. It was a very lonely time for me. Life started to feel better once I accepted my illness, and from there I realized that I had a gift I wanted to share -- Especially to those who were chronically ill.

Snippets of my life combined with a guided journal seems a perfect fit for how I want to encourage and impact others. I want my story to give hope to others and assure them they are not alone in their fight -- That their lives have purpose and it is possible to live beyond their illness. I want the guided journal to give inspiration to people so they can discover how to live full, wonderful lives despite their circumstances.

I want to share my story with people who are not chronically ill as well. I think it can be very easy to become insensitive to chronic illness, especially when it is something that can not be seen. Chronic illness can be very difficult to understand, especially for someone who has not been diagnosed with it. Having a better awareness of it opens the door for understanding and compassion. My story has the ability to impact others who are not ill. I’m not quite sure what this looks like yet, but I am keeping my heart and mind open to ideas and will continue searching for the opportunities.

I think we all have the ability to impact others. Our experiences become our testimonies and although we may not believe it in the moment, our experiences are often the inspiration others need to help guide them through difficult times. This is not to say that we each need to write a book or become a public speaker. It does say that we each have something to share. Whatever that might look like for each of us individually, it is a way for all of us to have a positive impact on others.

What can you do today to impact someone else in a positive way?

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