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Evelyn C. Fortson

African American Author of Women's Fiction

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I heard my mother say this phrase, “Just keep on living,” when I was a young adult. She would say it when something unexpected happened, she would say it when she was tired and had pain in her body. Now I find myself saying it in these unprecedented times that we are living in. Global pandemic, Black Lives Matter, Recall Election and going to more funerals than celebrations.


"Just Keep On Living," and you are going to see things that you could not imagine both good and bad. I could not imagine a Black President, but it happened and now I can see that it could happen again. The Black Lives Matter movement felt different this time and I can imagine real changes happening. This pandemic is real, I did not believe that we would still be in it, but we are. So, I tell myself to, “Just Keep On Living,” and this too will be something that I can tell my great-grandchildren about.


When you find yourself weary, tired, and ready to give in to that feeling that nothing will ever be the way it once was; hang in there just a little longer change is coming. “Just Keep On Living,” and you will see a brighter day. This pandemic will not last forever, things will return to some sort of normality.


Some of us will emerge from this pandemic broken and struggling to “Just Keep On Living,” because you have loss so much. But I hope that you do find a reason to keep on living, because if you do; one day the pain that you are feeling today will not hurt so much. Life will be worth living and there will be better days ahead.


Yes, we will be forever changed by this pandemic and all that came with it, but I hope that we are stronger, more understanding and kinder for having lived through it.


If you are struggling do not be ashamed to reach out for help, and if you see someone struggling be kind offer help.


“Just Keep on Living,” and all the seasons of life will come to pass. A time to live, a time to die…a time to break down, and a time to build up…a time to weep and a time to laugh…a time to mourn and a time to dance.


“Just Keep On Living,” and one day we will dance again.




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When I was a little girl, a thought would randomly enter my consciousness and fill my entire being. My body would tingle with an emotion beyond joy. My lips would curl up into a smile, and I would know with certainty that I was going to be rich!


I can barely remember the feeling because I have not felt it in so long, that it would be easy to think that I imagined it or dreamed it. But I know I did not. My soul knows I did not. A residue of that experience has been imprinted on my spirit and I know that I know that it was real.


As an adult I have often wondered if the thought was a promise from God, and

somehow, I missed it. Did I not believe in it enough, or did I make the wrong choices?


Then sometimes I think that I am rich. Maybe the promise was never a monetary one, maybe the promise was the knowledge that God is real, and that life is a beautiful gift.


Maybe I am rich because I did not live this life alone. My mother, father, brothers, sisters, son, grandbabies, husband…were the riches that God promised me. Every person that I met and had a relationship with or the stranger that I engaged in conversation while waiting at the auto repair shop were the treasure.


Yes, I am rich because I have people that I love, and I have people that love me.






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There is a saying, “People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person.”

I never liked this saying because people often misquote it, “People come into your life for a reason, and a season.” This sentiment makes it easy for people to use each other. You go into a relationship, connection, or friendship with the thought that it is temporary, one-sided and is to be disposed of the minute that you perceive that you are not receiving anything out of it.

How many lifelong friendships have you thrown away because you go into a situation thinking this person is only for a reason or season. If someone was instrumental in, you getting through a difficult time in your life or was the reason that you were able to accomplish something; why would you end the connection? What if you were the one that should have been giving, or was placed in that person’s life to help them?

I understand that connections, friendships, and relationships change; but why do they need to end? I have people that I no longer work with but, they mean as much to me as they did when I saw them every day. I may never see them again, but I will never throw them away. They are people that I will reach out to from time to time to say hello, wish them happy birthday, or just check in to see how they are doing.

I knew someone that misquoted this saying all the time, and sure enough when she no longer had a reason to stay connected our association was over. What if she had misjudged the timing, what if there was more that our association could have offered her? What if it was her time to give instead of take?

The next time you are tempted to throw a friendship, or an association away remember there is another saying, “Don’t burn bridges.” You never know who you might need in the future.



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