Mr. Wonderful and I took a much-needed trip to Hawaii during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. How we loved the warm weather on the Big Island! On one of the days, we visited the lush Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens, and I discovered one of the most unusual and breathtaking orchids I have ever seen. Its intricate beauty reminded me that life is not a mistake. There are experiences that don’t work out, yes, but there is so much to be gained if you make it through, one moment at a time.

During our vacation I received a heartbreaking email from a friend that her young teenage niece had just committed suicide. Memories flooded back to a point in my past when I didn’t see the purpose of living. Pain and suffering and sickness and suffering were rampant in my spirit and being. I couldn’t see beyond the fact that life was just hard and harder and I was done. I believed my absence would alleviate the burden of others. I had promised to love my husband through sickness and health, but at the altar I didn’t know how hard it would be to love him through my own sickness, too.

But I’m glad I stayed with life. If only I had the chance to tell this girl that one day, getting out of bed will be a little bit easier. That she has a significance no one else in this world can fill. That the future won’t necessarily get less difficult, but the love and friendships that are yet to come, that will come, are worth the achingly long empty days.

As I walked through the rainforest garden brimming with color and vitality, I wondered what storms they had to endure before they were brought to their current state of stunning magnificence.

Sometimes the biggest risk you can take is just to live.

Chevron sequin top: JCrew | Jeggings: AE Outfitters | Purse: Kate Spade | Shoes: Kate Spade