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.