A friend of mine recently asked about my blog. I had mentioned that I had stopped writing because I didn’t see the point any more. Don’t get me wrong, I still practiced finding and acknowledging gratitudes every day. I just didn’t write or document it publicly. I told her I had lost the umph, the drive, the purpose, and I was pretty confident I didn’t have an audience anyway so what did it matter. That’s when my friend said “I read your blog, Dani Angell. I read it to get inspired.”
That should have been enough to start me back up then and there. Truth is, it made the quiet voice telling me to rekindle the spark turn from a whisper into all out shouting in my soul. It wasn’t until I received word of the passing of a student that I woke up and am here now acting on what I believe to be part of my life’s purpose.
This student was the fifth person within a year and half that I’ve had to say goodbye to. Out of those five, only one had lived what we would consider a full life. This student only had one year completed in high school. She was full of light and love and energy every time I saw her. When she was in my class she would hug me every day, sometimes even sneaking up behind me to give me a hug, always running down the halls just to give me a hug. Even though she wasn’t the biggest fan of the subject I taught, she would still give me her best. After she left my classroom, I still received those amazing hugs every time I saw her. While helping out at a high school dance back in February, she ran over to me as soon as she saw me and we hugged so hard her bobby pins became entangled in my hair and for a moment we were just stuck together laughing. I would also always run into her in the grocery store. Each time, I had my basket full of fresh veggies and she would have chocolate. We had one of these encounters just a couple of weeks ago. I told her one day I would see her with a basket full of veggies. She replied “ Ms. Dani, life’s too short. Sometimes you just have to go for the chocolate.” I smiled and told her I loved her. She smiled back and replied that she loved me too. That was the last time we talked.
Here’s the funny thing. I think in more ways she was my teacher than I was hers. Life is too short. Life is completely unpredictable. Through it all, however, we write our stories. We choose how we respond to obstacles. We choose how we are shaped by the joys and sadness life brings. I realized it doesn’t matter if I have an audience to write for. What matters is that I am crafting my story with intention. What matters is through life’s challenges and celebrations I encounter them with an open heart, that I love big and hug hard, and honor all of the characters and teachers helping me along the journey. Truth is we really don’t know how many pages we have to write. We are all on borrowed time. I do know I will make however many of pages I have left count. I will decide the direction of the next chapters in life. My story will be a love story. If by some small chance I happen to inspire someone while writing it, all the better. My “once upon a time” begins now.
Love Big. Hug Hard. Laugh Loud. Write On.