Writing a Happy Ending

Co-authoring a new story together at Fuller Life

Once when working with a group of teens I had the pleasure of surprising them with the news that, despite all of the medical advances of the twentieth century, the mortality rate remains unchanged – 100%. They were stunned. Silly kids, right? But I find in my own life, while it is plainly obvious that everyone will face death, I do not often consciously consider that I myself will die someday – and it may not even be far away. It could be sudden or even from a seemingly trivial mishap.

Tolstoy’s character Ivan Ilych reflected along similar lines. He learned the lesson as a young boy “Caius is a man, men are mortal, therefore Caius is mortal.” The lesson “had always seemed to him correct as applied to Caius, but certainly not as applied to himself.”

With this awareness, the question “How then should I live?” naturally arises. How do you answer the question? Reflecting on your life, how do you measure whether it is a life being lived well? A common answer is “Carpe Diem!” Seize the day! But how should one seize it? How does one make the most of each ever-passing moment? Are some ways of seizing better than others?

Now I have my theories on what will lead to a full life and I would be happy to share if you would like to know, but in the therapy room it is more important to me that you come up with a workable solution for your own life. Usually when I meet my clients for the first time they have become aware on some level that life just is not going as desired. The things that they thought would make for a good life haven’t panned out. So we sort through it together. We get into the good, the bad, and the ugly. We identify assumptions and patterns and things we have been taught. Many find that going through a process like this with an impartial, nonjudgmental conversation partner brings clarity. Maybe you do not consider yourself someone who “needs therapy” but identify with what has been described above. If you think you could benefit from such a conversation partner, send us a note in the boxes on the right. There is still time to put a new ending on your life’s story.

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