A Lesson From Dory

Life is hard sometimes, isn’t it?

It’s hard to put one foot in front of the other when it seems like the earth beneath you is collapsing. It’s hard to move on when the thing you are leaving behind has such a strong hold over you. It’s hard to believe in God’s plans when yours are unraveling at the seams. It’s hard to cling to hope when the one thing you hoped for passes by, leaving you disappointed and confused.

In those moments of thwarted plans and disappointed dreams, I think of Dory. Yes, the talking fish on Finding Nemo. Given the fact that 1) she is a fish, 2) she was a little spacey at times, and 3) she is a cartoon in a children’s movie, you wouldn’t think she would make an impact on a real, live adult.

Like I said, life is unpredictable.

Dory encourages me. This week as I sat looking at disappointed dreams, I recalled my favorite line in the movie:

“Hey there, Mr. Grumpy Gills. When life gets you down, do you know what you’ve gotta do? … Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim.”

Sometimes we’ve got to just keep swimming. When life doesn’t work out according to your plans, what do you do? Do you give up? Do you walk around in a foul mood and blow up at everyone around you? Do you walk around with a sleeve of bitterness? Or do you keep swimming, no matter how great the odds?

This week I was presented with the opportunity to “just keep swimming”. I received the dread of every writer: the rejection letter. Okay, it was more like the rejection email. I looked at it in my inbox and, for a moment, let my dreams die. “I’m not good enough…No one will ever want to publish my book…I guess I’ll just quit writing altogether.”

I was not swimming. I was more like sinking.

Then (after several hours of pouting and sulking and “woe is me”-ing) I realized just how exciting of an opportunity this is. Yes, my book proposal was not accepted by the first publisher I ever sent it to. Yes, I have to start the process all over again. Yes, it stinks.

But I sent it. And the book, as this editor nicely encouraged me, “made it to the next level”. It just wasn’t what they were looking for. They were looking for “medical”, and-well-I am no doctor.

But that’s okay because they didn’t say they didn’t like my writing. They didn’t even say they didn’t like my book. It just wasn’t the book they had in mind.

I should so be rejoicing.

So, after my midweek meltdown, I am up and swimming again. And you should do the same. Whatever may be disappointing you, just keep swimming. God is in control.

Sometimes you just have to keep going through the waves.



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