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  • Writer's pictureKelly Neff

Boiling Water

Kelly Neff Speaks - Tuesday Treasures - Boiling Water 9-10-19
Photo: Unsplash, Derek Story

The last two weeks have been exhausting. I am always amazed at the power of our emotions. They can zap your energy like a bad alternator depletes a car battery, leaving you immobilized.

It is very easy to get sucked into the darkness of grief and allow depression to slither in like a boa constrictor ambushing its prey. It would be easy to allow it to swallow me whole. It would be easy to stay in bed and pull the covers over my head. It would be easy to leave all the blinds closed and isolate myself. It would be easy to say, “I just don't feel like doing anything today.” And for most of my life, I have chosen the easier way out when facing difficulty.

Saturday, September 7th, marked eight years since I lost my oldest son, Tommy. I dread that day every year, okay let's get real here, I absolutely hate that day. Many would say, “Wow, it's been eight years, shouldn't she be over that by now?”

I was talking with a dear friend recently who has also experienced great loss. I mentioned to her that I get frustrated when someone implies that I should be over it by now or has the insensitivity to speak those words. Her response was profound, and it helped me to see that my perspective was askew. Instead of allowing those words to ruffle my feathers, she reminded me that the only reason someone would think or say such a thing is that they don't understand it. They haven't experienced it. And that is something to sing praises about! Thank God they haven't experienced it!

My friend and I are both well acquainted with unspeakable pain, the kind that comes with grieving the loss of a child. Knowing what we both know… we would never wish for anyone else to experience it. The gentle words of my friend were powerful and a much-needed reminder. She spoke words of truth to me. She helped me refocus.

My friend’s words resonated deeply in my heart and brought to mind a quote from Jess Ekstrom's book, Chasing the Bright Side, “We can’t always control our experiences, but we can always write our story.” I had been reading Jess’s book just a few days earlier and was greatly impacted by her story. The timing of reading her book has been a godsend for me and connecting Jess’s message with my friend’s words is something I won’t soon forget.

Something Jess said in her book is that “boiling water can soften a potato but harden an egg. The same environment can produce two totally different results.” “This means the circumstance doesn’t have as much influence as the subject.”

My friend, we are not defined by the boiling water we find ourselves submerged in. Our story is what defines us, and we get to choose how it's going to turn out. So, the next time someone says, “shouldn't you be over that by now,” I can choose to focus inward and allow frustration to boil over and burn me, or I can choose to write music and pour out songs of joy because they don’t understand it. Hallelujah, they haven’t experienced it!

I don’t know about you, but I am a sucker for a story with a happy ending.


Chasing the Bright Side is filled with much wisdom and Jess’s message is one that needs to be shared. I am in awe that a gal so young has learned so much and is courageous enough to share it with real authenticity. Love ya, Jess!

To Preorder Chasing the Bright Side click on the link:

Set to release on November 5th!

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