"Your Life Changing Event"

by Tom Gilbert © 2003 and updated 2012

Something has happened in your life that is shaping everything you are and do.

If that is not true in your life then it just hasn’t happened yet. It’s inevitable that at some point in this journey we call life there will be a life changing event. It may be your marriage, or the birth of your first child. Perhaps it will be overcoming some great trial, like a serious illness or life-threatening addiction. For many it is the loss of a loved one, through death or separation. Often it is the experience that brings you to a faith in God, or that "something bigger" than all of us.

You may be thinking, "Well, that’s true, but actually I’ve had more than one such life changing event." Great! Not, "great" in the sense of celebration if any of these events were painful and traumatic, but "great" in the broader appreciation that such events have for stretching us and helping us to experience the fullness of life. You see, we experience that fullness even through loss. Perhaps it is especially through such loss.

I have known these ups and downs of life. I had a pretty successful radio career at one time. I kept getting better jobs, higher pay and accolades. But when I really grew was when I had the tough challenges of poor ratings, dealing with new formats, ownership changes and getting fired more than once.

I have dealt with career changes and uncertain incomes, all the while working to find a way to provide for my family.

Both of my parents have passed on. Mom in 2006 and Dad just this past January of 2012. It was a privilege to be present to both their deaths. I have shared about them on my site (here and here).

One of the valuable reasons for preserving your life story is because in the process you will confront these life changing experiences. You will discover how they affect your beliefs, your actions and the way you view life. Sometimes returning to these memories helps you grow. This can be especially beneficial if any of the events in your past are holding you back from truly living life to the fullest.

Not only do you owe yourself the benefit of knowing what has most impacted your life. You really have an obligation to share that with others. We are not meant to live in isolation. Each of us has something to contribute to others. You may never make world history, be famous or rich or any of the other things the world often tells us are important. However, if your children, your parents, your spouse, siblings, relatives, friends, co-workers and even complete strangers are deprived of any beneficial lessons from your time on the planet then it is a loss for all of us.

Testimonies of faith and stories of life’s great adventure are of interest to everyone. You know this is true. Just visit any bookstore and notice the huge number of biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs. Keep track of all the movies and television programs that focus on someone’s life story. Open up one of the most influential books in all of civilization, the Bible, and observe how much is devoted to the telling of various individuals’ struggles and triumphs. 

Many people are on a journey of recovery from addictions, disease or injury. Writing about such matters can help you stay focused and committed to your path. That's powerful and important! 

When you decide to record family history, write your life story or help someone else do the same you should always attempt to capture the essence of life changing events. Be open and honest with yourself or your interview subject. Certainly be sensitive. The greatest drama in life is there. Our best life lessons are learned from hearing, seeing or reading these stories.

Have you experienced a life changing event? Share it with us.

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