I have been trying to better understand my life’s mission especially as regards to my writing. More precisely, what makes my main characters who they are and why do they act the way they do? First, I believe I must consider my own life’s journey.
There is probably not an adult alive that hasn’t wondered if there’s a purpose for their life. Who doesn’t want to do something good, make a difference that’s unique to you? The hard part can be figuring out just what the plan for one’s life is. While we may look for a grandeur gift to fall upon us, we may simply be called to be kind to others, which is so needed today. Most likely there are several things we do in our lives that make a difference to others, some we may hardly notice or remember as anything special. That doesn’t make it any less meaningful. For example, the first person who helped me with my writing didn’t remember doing so until I told her I dedicated my first book to her. Serving humanity is a gift, not everyone can do it, but everyone can make a small gesture that can cause ripples and may consequently change someone’s direction.
Sometimes God doesn’t answer our prayer the way we want, or something difficult seems to turn our lives upside down and become a defining story in life. The event moves us in a new direction, literally and figuratively. Who hasn’t heard, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?” What may be hardest to grasp is that the new journey can bring you inward growth and changes to your perspective.
In fact, post-traumatic growth (PTG) is a theory of transformation following trauma, developed by psychologists Richard Tedeschi, PhD, and Lawrence Calhoun, PhD. These men believe that people who struggle through hard times can see inward growth. The five gifts include new possibilities; increased strength; more meaningful relationships; greater appreciation; and spiritual development. In fact, my husband and I learned some of these very things after he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. We saw silver linings (blessings with adversity) after time passed and we had moved and settled in Idaho. Yet, you must reflect on your life and look for the silver linings or you will not see them.
What I have experienced has become part of my mission statement, these “gifts” are what I want to show developing in the characters of my books as they face adversity as human beings. I also want to show how a healthy romantic relationship helps you grow to be a better person, how the couple’s reflective comments make each other think and help point them to good, not to selfish or destructive, decisions.
When I look back over the books I have written, I see that my various characters want to serve humanity in some way, and it’s reflected in their jobs. Some of these people have suffered a life changing accident or come from war. The characters have lost someone they love or have life changes that cause them to travel down a so-called broken road where they will find meaning and love in their lives.
My book settings take place in the forests of Northeast Oregon, because in nature is where I, the writer, have done some of my best reflecting on life’s struggles, successes and goals and have been best able to implement them.
From time to time, it can be a good idea to reflect on your life and what you are trying to convey in the efforts you make or the things you do. Perhaps you will see that you have already conveyed something you want others to grasp or learn, whether it came out subconsciously or in more of a planned way.