The cooler weather is settling in and the frigid Arctic winter is just around the corner. It's a perfect time to settle in and read, which I've been doing a lot more of lately, especially in the evening hours.
What does reading do for you? For me, it does a couple of things.
First, it provides relaxation for my body. When I read, it's my sole focus. I'm not thinking about my next storyline, nor am I thinking about what I plan to do later or tomorrow. When I sit with a book, it becomes my world.
Second, it provides me with an attitude of thanksgiving. There are so many stories I've read, stories which I'm glad were not my own. By that I mean I'm glad I didn't have to live the lives of so many characters I've met through the written word. When I read about a mother who lost her child, a victim of child abuse, or a man afflicted by memories of war which prevent him from moving forward in life, I take a few moments and whisper a prayer that it is not my life, not my struggle. I also pray that God will help those people who are struggling in such areas.
That being said, lately, I've been struggling with fear of the unknown, of what the future may hold in certain aspects of my life. Though my reasons for feeling afraid are different, it reminds me of Rochelle Cassidy in Fear is Louder than Words.
She was definitely terrified of her stalker, but she was also terrorized by the thoughts going through her mind. I can attest to feeling the same way over recent weeks.
Always needing a plan B and preparing for "what if" scenarios in any life-altering situation, sometimes it's difficult to set thoughts aside and let my mind relax. Sometimes fear takes over, no matter how much I try to fight it. Rochelle was the same way; she found it hard to relax because no matter what she was doing, she knew her "boogeyman" was out there. (Read more about Rochelle's story here.)
Then, of course, there are those times in life when each of us trusts someone, when we take hold of their hands or take them at their word.
Sometimes such decisions are among the best choices we've made in our lives. We feel at peace and our lives are enriched. Life becomes easier since our burdens are lighter. Our load has been divided by the person who is helping us carry it.
At other times, we trust the wrong person and realize it too late. We wish we had gone screaming in the other direction, as was the case with Ethan LeBrun.
Sometimes, our life changes for the worse and, sometimes, our lives are taken as was the case with this little boy. (Read more about what really happened to Ethan here.)
Regardless of what life brings to each of us, we are each responsible for our own words and actions, how we deal with situations, good and bad.
In terms of our words, if we are confrontational toward a person, we can only expect a defensive attitude. If we are peaceful, another person's anger seems wasted and soon fizzles. If we are dishonest in our dealings, people will think twice before believing us. If we speak kindly, people will speak to us in the same manner.
In terms of our actions, when we reach out to offer a helping hand, our actions are appreciated. People look at us with a smile and think of us fondly. When we nurture and love others, they will gravitate toward us. We develop a bond with them which is only enhanced as time goes on.
On the other hand, if we deliberately hurt people, they will want to keep their distance, and rightfully so. If we do whatever we can to destroy others, we can only expect them to turn their backs on us.
This is the case with Tiffany. At the beginning of Taking Tiffany, Tiffany was a spoiled rich brat with no sense of values. She seemed to wreak destruction wherever she turned. Even her parents got fed up with her behavior and sent her far away, so far away that she was removed from everything familiar. Wonder of wonders, it was the impetus to change her life and open her blinded eyes. (Read more about the second part of Tiffany's story here.)
All in all, it's been an all-encompassing month filled with highs and lows in my own life, as well as in the stories I've read. It's amazing how everything all ties together and flows so coherently between the three stories, each title randomly chosen for my reading pleasure.
If you take nothing more from these words, remember: fear will not set you free, trust is not always deserved so be cautious, and your words and actions are never forgotten. Be sure that your words and actions are something you can be proud of at any time, no matter what happens in life.