Sometimes I just don’t want to write.
My mind just wants to be numb.
My heart just doesn’t want to feel.
I don’t want to pour out the heartaches and wounds of this tired soul.
I’d rather sit alone in silence.
Hold it in.
Pretend that life is perfect—or at least just fine–in these four walls.
Just not feel or even blink at the chaos that unravels around me and then lands in my lap a tattered mess.
But who would I be kidding?
I need to write.
It frees me from the loneliness of this life.
This broken, shattered life.
It gives me hope.
And in the distance, I hear an echo.
“That is my life too.”
I find community.
I find others with wounds like mine.
Others who know that life is not perfect within the four walls of our homes.
That we are not perfect wives or mothers or daughters or sisters or friends.
Others who know the heartache of loss and love and loneliness.
And in that community, I find hope.
I find renewal.
I find peace in the unraveling chaos.
Because, in the midst of community, I find Christ.
He draws close and He is in the midst of it all.
The healer of wounds.
The one who knits us together when the unraveling begins.
The one who holds fast to us when the world has emptied us of all hope.
The one who gives hope to the hopeless.
My favorite reads have always been non-fiction. In grade school I read–over and over–the story of Babe Didrikson Zaharias, a 1932 Olympic Gold Medalist. I found her story captivating and inspiring. She discovered that she excelled at every sport she tried, and went on to break records in track and field and golf, among others. Her drive to excel inspired me.
Other favorites, in recent years, include Mountains Beyond Mountains, Three Cups of Tea, and Strength in What Remains. Each of these stories explore the lives of ordinary people who have accomplished extraordinary things. Each has persevered when most would give up. Each persevered because of a deep love for humanity. Each persevered, too, because other people–strangers, family, and friends–had compassion for them or others and walked alongside them in their journey.
These stories touch me because I connect with the hope, tragedy, and passion of the characters. Real people, living in this broken world. Living in the story of hope. The stories all include incredible obstacles the characters overcome, but the journey to get there, for each, looks like my story–all of our stories. The stories sing out: authentic, raw, real.
I need real. So, the fiction sitting on my night stand collects dust. The pages remain unread. The books received great reviews, but I need more. I need real. I look for books, and blogs, and relationships that satisfy that need. I need the every day heroes in my life who struggle and hope and persevere.
Admittedly, when I find it convenient, I live a sort of fiction, I expose to the world a character I create for appearances only. Not surprisingly, I write poor fiction. My characters lack depth. My stories lack plot.
So, I return to the mess of everyday life–of trying to live authentically, and not always doing it very well. There, I uncover the beautiful meaning of relationships filled with compassion and grace and hope. It is “like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” Matthew 13:44.
When I seek God as writer and editor in chief, pages of great non-fiction come to life. He writes great stories. Real page turners.