The Novel of Our Life  

turning page

I was lying stomach down on a massage table with my face surrounded by the circle headrest. It was the third appointment I had with Michelle, a therapeutic massage therapist. She and I connected at my first appointment. She was in awe by all that my body has endured and is very interested in helping my body heal and deal with its constant stressors. At the beginning of the session, Michelle warmed up my muscles with hot rocks. She asked if I would mind if she prayed. I welcomed her kind act of giving. She said she usually prays silently but was inclined to be vocal at that moment. Michelle proceeded to say a prayer that was full of beautiful and heartfelt sentiments about my life, my body and my future. I was so touched that my eyes welled up with tears. I felt at peace and very fortunate at that moment in time.

new page-new chapterThat set the tone to a very reflective session. I pondered on the past year and being the deep thinker that I am, life as a whole. I began to compare our lives to a wonderful novel, each day a new page and each year a new chapter. With each chapter having a different title, a new year gives us a fresh sense of hope for something different, something new, something better.

We tend to gravitate towards markers in life. Such as age markers, anniversaries, times of loss, milestones, accomplishments, moments of reprieve and setting goals. These give us direction, ways to cope, things to look forward to, something to celebrate, ways to make us stronger and to challenge us. As I laid still on the massage bed, I found myself mentally scanning through snapshots of 2014.

12 yr transplant anniversarySome of my markers this year included: turning 31 years old; my body endured a discectomy back operation, a spinal fluid leak surgery, sepsis and several hospital stays due to viruses. I celebrated my 12-year kidney transplant anniversary. Noah and I visited family in PA. A dear friend passed away tragically. Noah and I celebrated our three-year wedding anniversary in Maui. Mom and dad visited from PA. I transitioned out of pool physical therapy and into the gym, which is a great accomplishment. Playing that out took my mind on a bumpy rollercoaster ride. I still found myself at peace and grateful after reliving all of that.

I am thankful that my therapeutic massage session quieted down my life enough to reflect on the past year. I wish the same time of reflection for you this holiday season. At the end of the day, our hope is for tomorrow. To be given the opportunity to turn another page and unfold that part of the chapter in our lives. When reading and in life, it is easy to get anxious to see what’s ahead and what will happen next. As we approach the end of one chapter and the start of a fresh new year, let’s cherish each new page and the beautiful gifts it brings. Although we may want to breeze through some chapters in life, as this one comes to a close, let’s slow things down and revel in the beauty of every word.

My love and wishes for you and your family to share wonderful moments and create treasured memories this holiday season. I hope you are able to slow down, reflect and soak in the love that surrounds you. Here’s to a happy and healthy New Year.

What would the title of your next chapter be? Share below in the comments section.

happy holidays2



  1. Karyn Waxman


    • Valen Keefer

      Happy Holidays my dear friend!

  2. zeina

    Amen……I was just diagnosed with pkd a few weeks ago including my two sisters…I pray that God will see us through alll this

    • Valen Keefer

      I pray for that too. I hope you and your sisters supporting each other will give one another strength, hope and the comfort of knowing you are not alone as you navigate along your path with PKD. Wishing you and your family all the best!

  3. Colleen Faulknor

    Your post brought tears to my eyes – beautifully written.

    • Valen Keefer

      Thank you. I’m so happy you enjoyed it. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

  4. Noelia

    Beautifully said Valen and very inspiring! As I read it thought about 2015 being possibly the year for a new beginning for me as I have entered the pre kidney transplant stage. May you also have a wonderful Christmas and new year!

    • Valen Keefer

      Thank you very much Noelia. I am glad this post allowed you to look forward to the possibilities of the new year. I hope the new year gives you the best gift of all – the gift of life. Wishing you and yours the merriest holiday season. Hugs!


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