To begin again means that you won't give up.
To begin again means you're trying.
You can either start over and live your life
Or spend the rest of your life slowly dying.

It is never the falling that makes us fail.
It is never the pain or the crying.
You can never fail in life, my friend,
Unless you give up trying.
--Bob Perks

It seems lately that more and more of my friends are facing some seemingly insurmountable challenges in their lives. A few have lost their jobs and some have failed marriages. All too many have health issues or are battling cancer.

I don't know if it is desperation that causes them to turn to me for advice or whether they have come to value our friendship. But it is difficult, to say the least, to offer words of hope when all they feel is hopeless. They expect answers, some magic waving of a wand, or a roadmap to get them back on their feet again.

I have often struggled with what to say. Mostly because I have faced many of the same challenges in my own life, I remember how empty I felt after someone cheerfully offered words like, "Keep your chin up!" "Things will get better!" "Hang in there!" "It's always darkest...," etc.

Yes, even those who were quick to quote the Bible to me found me quite unreceptive at the time.

Now, as an inspiration writer, being thought of as a resource of hope or a good (or bad) example of what to do in life, I have even more people contacting me.

So, what do I say?

"What can I do, Bob? I've lost my job. What do you suggest?"

"Begin again."

"He walked out on me. My whole world just ended. What should I do?"

"Begin again."

"Bob, I know both your son and your wife had cancer. I found out my wife does, too. What did you tell them?"

"Begin again."

It almost sounds too simple. I imagine in the darkest hours of one's life, those words would seem useless or uncaring. But it is indeed the answer.

All life challenges bring about an ending--and the chance for a beginning. A job loss presents an opportunity to start over somewhere else and maybe even in another career.

A failed marriage does not mean you are through loving or being loved. It means there are others just like you needing to be loved. Find them.

A life-threatening disease does not mean giving up. It means starting a new path to recovery and discovering within yourself the ability to fight back and win.

And if you are a person of faith, even death does not mean it's over. It means "to begin again."

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