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How to Truly Live

“Look, I did it…and that means you can too!”

There’s a bittersweet feeling that comes at the end of a great story.  Reading, “Meet Marie Ludwick:  Squeezing Through Knotholes”, left me wishing that I had known her personally. It is truly remarkable how generously and poignantly she combined her life’s story with the history of her era for the benefit of her loved ones. The world she grew up in is very different than the world her grandchildren know, including the major events of her lifetime added a compelling context to her extraordinary life.

Through all of her days, Marie was a teacher, mentor, and the best kind of cheerleader. She was a woman who very actively and passionately facilitated and supported the growth and healing of others. She exemplified the potential to turn ones challenges into assets. As one of her close friends explained:

“Marie often talked about her “addictive personality” and her potential to abuse many substances. The passion she had for Weight Watchers, AA and the Wayside House were ways to channel her addictive personality into healthy outlets.”

As I reflect on the power of her example and speak with women whose lives she profoundly affected; I see that her story lives on and her legacy endures. Above all, I am struck by how clear it is that Marie lived fully and passionately as relatively few of us ever do. As her family noted at the close of her story:

“She lived every moment and devoted herself to enriching others.”

Rarely does one encounter the combination of such a powerful individual who also possesses great humility.  Marie understood and embodied the spiritual axiom that there is unlimited potential for joy in being of service to those who struggle with hardships. Her calling and her presence affected countless people and her choice to believe in what was possible inspired growth individually and organizationally.

Given her faith, it is fitting that her life’s work was in gaining through loss. In her memoirs, Marie references the writing of Richard Seaman :

“A knot hole moment is when you’re being squeezed through something so tight, so intense, that it becomes a defining, pivotal paradigm shift – shifting your life trajectory into a whole new cosmos. What is most interesting about the knot hole is what you’ve got to leave behind in order to move through it.”

Marie moved through a plethora of difficult and stressful transitions. She overcame challenges, fears, and compulsions. She struggled with substances and triumphed. She took risks and made bold moves occupationally and personally. In so doing, she allowed God to work through her to create new opportunities and possibilities.

Marie’s love for family and close friends is obvious in her writing. Her photos and stories of those she held most dear perfectly reflect her values.

Marie sought to connect and inspire. May each of us live so well as to emulate her example and may we honor her by serving powerfully and humbly.

“There is no more worthwhile thing that one can do than to be of service to others. You are engaged daily in the very important service of helping to find a better quality of Life.” – Marie Ludwick

For those who would like to honor or memorialize Marie with a donation, her friends have asked that you consider supporting the mission of the Bangor Area Recovery Network, a grass roots, community based center that supports all roads to recovery.

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