Who’s listening? On writing and living a Story

The fog crept in steadily.

The morning was dreary, unusually dark; so much so that my son asked if the sun was coming today.

As I began my morning run I felt the drizzle soaking through the cloth on my arms, but it is unseasonably warm so my legs, bare to the elements, felt refreshed by the thick moist air.

I ran.  And I keep running not because I intend to win a race.  I ran, and I keep running not because there is anyone encouraging me along – though people are cheering, in my head and in my life.

I ran, and I keep running because I love myself.

Even as I have learned that I love myself and that I am quite beloved by God, I have my days.  Bad days when this doesn’t feel true.

The other day a reader said my writing “lacked heart.”  At first, it shook me.  The voice in my head murmuring and cloying, “You thought you had come so far.”

Sunday I heard the words again, the source Brennan Manning and a piece of a puzzle fell into place.  The first time I heard the words “I am the one Jesus loves” I physically recoiled away from the idea.  My heart, dry and rigid like clay left too long in the sun, broken into pieces already.  Those words didn’t offer solace, then.

Today I know they are true and I argue back.

I am loved!  I have a heart, soft and malleable.  I am full of passion and I can put my heart into words on the page and move people. 

But that cannot be why I write – for others to be moved, for others to approve, or for others to be impressed by my supposed ability.  And I cannot write what I am not living every day the passion and pain of motherhood, of being a Child of God, of being healed even as I am still broken, of God nursing me back to health over the last decade of depravity and addiction and a lifetime of sorrow.  I write my story not out of some psychological need, either.

I write what I am living even as I know I cannot write everything.  But write I do because I believe it will reach others in their inner dark spaces of which I know nothing specific, but I can imagine because the life I have lived; because I have walked the road of depression and a shaky unclear disbelieving heart.  I have lived the days, even years of not wanting to be alive.  I have been there and I am not there now and so I write.

I spoke it aloud to my husband, asking if he had read the piece.  What did he think?  Crushed, momentarily by my apparent “lack of heart” Wavering, slowly then I remembered the rest.  The fellow Redbud who said it was “brilliant” and all the rest who read and were moved and who wept. And I knew.  And I learned.

I cannot write for the reader.

I cannot write for my own personal health.

I cannot write for glory.

I must write because of the story inside, the story I have lived and still live daily.  The story is the gift and the sacrifice.  And if God is glorified in my weakness, this is why I write.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Marlene M. says:

    It is difficult to lead others down a path, unless you have traveled along that path first. May your writing continue to do just that! Also–lacking in heart?!! Nope. Keep writing, Melody. : )

    Like

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