“Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.”
I vividly remember the first time I heard those eight words of encouragement from Mr. Magorium to Molly Mahoney in “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium.” I was huddled in a corner of our couch and idly paying attention to the movie, but when Dustin Hoffman’s character said those words, I focused immediately on the screen. The two sentences rang through my mind once, twice, three times, blazing a trail through my entire being to the place where the hurt and the nothingness was centered.
At the time, I was struggling through my first bout of depression, and the numb feeling was so terrifyingly new that I didn’t want to put a name to it because that would feel like admitting defeat. Mr. Magorium’s words were a godsend for me. They stuck, imprinting themselves on my brain, and whenever the depression would rear its ugly head those words would come back as well. My depression ebbed and swelled; I’d be struggling for a few months at a time before relief came, but then the depression would circle back once more. Those words were a ray of hope during that period, a glimmer of light in the relentless darkness that wanted to consume me.
“Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.”
The word “occasion” can be defined as “a favorable opportunity or circumstance.” When we’re told to rise to the occasion, the idea is to grasp at that favorable opportunity and to learn from it, to make it our own. Occasions aren’t always the happy things in life; they’re the in-between times as well: the lows, the darkness, and the confusion. Rising to the occasion isn’t always easy – sometimes, it seems impossible – but we’re still told to put our best effort forward in spite of that.
Sometimes simply living is the uncomfortable situation, the situation that hurts. Sometimes it’s hard to rise out of bed in the morning, never mind rise to the occasion that is your life. But life is significant. Your life is significant because it is the occasion that belongs to you. Your life is that favorable circumstance, and you’re the only one that can rise to it.
As I struggled with the depression that wanted to hold me down, rising to the occasion meant pushing onward, even if all I wanted to do was curl up in the middle of my bed and stare at the wall. It meant staying involved in the things that I enjoyed when the numbness wasn’t suffocating me, even if it was hard to see the point of continuing to do them. It meant being honest with my friends when they asked how I was and being honest with myself about what I was going through. It meant not being afraid to stand up to my depression.
Sometimes it’s hard, so incredibly hard, to believe that your life is a favorable circumstance, but I promise you that your life is an occasion and that you are equipped for it. You have been given the tools to do this, to rise to the occasion that is your life; they’re in the beat of your heart in the cavern of your chest and the rattling of breath in your lungs.
As long as your heart beats and your lungs expand, you can rise to this occasion.
You are not alone, either. Sometimes the occasion of life feels like a struggle, an effort to get from point A to point B, but you have people that are willing to walk alongside you. You are one in a community of people who love you and support you, even if you might not be able to pinpoint why. If you feel alone, if you feel abandoned, please know you are not and were never meant to be. Your life is just as important as the life of the person next to you, as the life of the person across the ocean from you. You will be supported just as they are because you are just as infinitely precious, just as infinitely valuable. You will succeed in this struggle, I am sure of it. You will rise to this occasion. You will rise to the occasion of your life.
Your life is an occasion, and it is worth living.
Your life is an occasion, and you’re not alone in this fight.
Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.