The weird thing about my brain is that I remember everything. I have a clear memory of being about two years old, extremely vivid. And then nothing until I am four. Normally I would just chalk this up to being a child and forgetting or simply not remembering, but when I've asked my relatives about it, the answer never comes. Some have started crying. "Why would you want to know that? Why go back there?" Others are adamant that nothing happened to me. Others think I'm crazy for asking. But always, there is never a satisfactory answer and lots and lots of evasion. Rumors have flown around about homelessness, but nothing I can pin down.
I need to know. It's this ache inside me, this agony to know what was missing from my life. What happened? Why won't anyone tell me?
This search has driven me to become an investigative reporter. I've dug up old acquaintances from the past, written letters, sent emails, hoping to unfold the mystery. Nothing. I've prayed, but no insight has come. I've tried to settle myself, but I'm still antsy.
What has helped me with my need to know was remembering something my husband Patrick told me years ago. With words, he painted a picture. He said my distance (at the time) felt like I was pacing the high dive, deciding whether I would jump into the pool. Down below were my children and him, all beckoning me to jump. But I paced. And worried. And fretted. I didn't jump. Instead, in the word picture, I came off the high dive, then sat on the side of the pool and dangled my feet. Our later discussion helped me see an important truth. No matter what may make you pace the high dive (for me it's this missing memory conundrum), you can still make a choice to live, to enjoy, to engage with people. You don't have to be trapped up there or be relegated to the side of the pool.
This is why I wrote The Muir House. I wanted to explore the idea that we may never know the exact truth of things. We may investigate until our heart is raw. But even if things are left unresolved, we always have the choice to grow and live anyway. Willa had that choice. I have that choice. Even you have that choice.
We can let the past be our excuse to live crippled lives.
Or we can leap into the halcyon air, and jump footfirst into life.
Which will you choose?
Curious? Here’s the book trailer:
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