Your Life Is an Occasion

By Sara Kellar

“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.

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Comments (11)

  1. anonymous

    thank you so so much. i needed these words this week.

    Reply  |  
  2. Shenna Maddox

    I know the darkness that you feel. I will read this each day.

    Reply  |  
  3. Laura

    This was amazing. Ty for sharing.

    Reply  |  
  4. Confused

    After 22 years of life, I’m stuck in the middle of my bed looking at my ceiling often, because I can not leave the place that is holding me down. The people in it only wants to make themselves feel better and by doing that means that my happiness, my feelings, and my broken heart is the target. I honestly can say I have one person who is helping me get through this and if I didn’t have him then I know for sure I would not be here living life. The worst feeling for me right now is having people in my life making me feel even more alone than I ever have felt. After 12 years of my life knowing self harm, depression, and drugs. I have not self harm in 7 years, but with my depression is in full swing and has been for over a year now I can’t say I’m sober from some stuff. Pills help me get through my problems. Makes me feel numb and I can handle anything at that time. Life is a occasion and I should rise to it, but how do I do that when I can’t get away from the people that do not allow me to live the life that I know I could love.

    Reply  |  
    1. Claire Biggs

      Hi there,

      We’re sorry to hear how you’re feeling right now. We’d love to send you some hope and encouragement. Would you mind emailing

      Reply  |  
  5. Alice Hughes

    I am absolutely in love with this! Thank you so much for sharing something that is obviously very special to you so that so many people can enjoy it. I find this so inspiring. For the past two years I have struggled with depression. It comes and goes but I can never tell when or for how long it will be around. When I have episodes it takes everything in me to just keep going. After reading this i feel like I’ve found something to help me at least a little when times get rough, so thank you for that! Thank you for being such an amazing person!

    Reply  |  
  6. Sue

    I love this! I think I will start saying occasion instead of episode!

    Reply  |  
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  8. Kim

    Sara –
    “Sometimes simply living is the uncomfortable situation, the situation that hurts.” This is what so many people find difficult to understand about those of us with depression. Thank you for saying it. Thank you also for sharing your inspiration. What a great quote – “Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.” That resonates for me as well. Thank you for your insightful words and the strength you share through them.

    Another phrase that helps me a lot is from Eckhart Tolle, “I am a soul experiencing what it is like to be human.” For some reason this perspective gives me strength to make the effort to move forward.

    Thank you.

    Reply  |  
  9. Bobbi J Aker

    I cannot thank you enough for sharing this today! What timing ?
    As did the words resignated with you… It hit me straight on!

    Reply  |  
  10. Ashley Green

    Thank you

    Reply  |  
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