Almost two months ago, we shared our manuscript publicly for the first time.
After spending years crafting a narrative, it was time to let others in for a view. Months of heavy editing and re-writing, cutting and re-working, formatting and placing had led to this seminal moment. We were both excited and anxious, eager for others to be drawn into our story, but worried that the work carried out over the last several years could possibly be negatively received. A reception proving our efforts to be futile.
We decided to have our initial draft read by a carefully selected group, one which would represent a wide array of cultures, generations and life experiences. In the days following distribution, we both operated in a relative state of unease. The thought of others reading our words filled with honest depictions of the past invoked a sense of fear. “Life is messy,” we heard someone say recently. So is our story. We couldn’t help but worry what others would think after we spent years crafting the words filling hundreds of pages.
Multiple positive messages began to arrive, with one resounding response heard among them all. “I can’t put it down!” After hearing these words, we both breathed a giant sense of relief. In the days since, we have begun gathering wonderful words of encouragement coupled with constructive criticism, giving us more than a few things to work on moving forward. The words of life offered by some imbued us with a newfound sense of determination to pull this project across the finish line.
As always, positive reviews were mixed with the negative. Some pressed for more information, asking for additional details purposefully left out of our project. Asking intimate and sometimes non sequitur questions about which, if answers were provided, would do little to shed light on the arc of the narrative. Questions proving that people were interested; yet, at the same time, felt like an invasion of privacy. An interaction for which we felt entirely unprepared. Proving a reality to which we are already familiar. People always want more. No matter how much detail is offered, some are never entirely satisfied.
Our manuscript also generated a bit of controversy. Some of the facts revealed seemingly bothered the sensibilities of a few. There was criticism readily appearing to be rooted in emotion rather than logic. We took it in stride as par for the course. We knew this journey would be filled with challenges. Besides, we know life can dish up far worse.
Nine years ago today, Samuel found himself in a hospital bed. Wondering if the life he once envisioned for himself could ever be attained. Even then, it all seemed entirely senseless, so utterly devoid of meaning. Kate wondered if she was up for the challenge of raising a son who had just endured second and third degree burns. The future was far from guaranteed.
What followed was a road to recovery (that if we are honest we still travel) filled with unexpected highs and lows in ways we could never have accurately predicted. The twists and turns of this story remain far reaching, startling and sometimes astonishing. Before we could let anyone from the outside get a sneak peek of our manuscript, the whole Moore-Sobel clan gathered to read since each was granted the unequivocal right of striking any passage for any reason. As we read, edited, discussed and recollected - in some cases forgotten events - it was, in retrospect, a sacred week. We all experienced intense nightmares as memories resurfaced; but, for those last precious days, the story was still just ours. While some pieces will be kept just among us to share, broadcasting so much of our story for public consumption was a GIANT step.
A step we have taken that we hope leads to healing. Not just for our family, but for countless others across this great country and around the world. As we continue collaborating in an effort to hone the completion of our manuscript, the nerves are back in full force. We know that for every person touched by our story, there will always be plenty of critics along the way. There is always the chance that our endeavors could end in failure. Yet not trying would be a regret we would both carry through the rest of our lives.
For we have a story to tell. One filled with pain, tragedy, anger, sadness; and, filled with joy, gratitude, celebration, and acceptance that ultimately shows redemption. As we reflect upon the last nine years of our lives, we thank each and every one of you who has supported us as we have traveled this long and winding road. Thank you for reading our words, for encouraging us, and for readily signing on to the vision we have for what this story could one day be.
Ultimately, we long to see the world change its mind about scars, both visible and invisible. To take better care of those who have been deeply wounded, both physically and emotionally. To release the pain so many of us carry daily and use it to move forward toward healing, all while helping others along the way. So today, we invite you to join us in spirit as we celebrate the gift of life. Treasure each and every moment; and, never, ever forget to Cultivate Hope. Everyday.