I set out to write an uplifting blog post about going into year three of the Covid pandemic. However, it began to look like the words of Charlie Brown’s parents’: Blah, blah-blah, blah-blah. What could I say that hasn’t already been chewed on a million times?
Instead, I opened a new file and began to write stories from my childhood. These, of course, have always been in my head, and I’ve told some of them before. But I’m finding that like fine cheese, some memories need to be well aged and seasoned with a long perspective before they are told.
In my twenties, when my father’s life and death were fresh and raw in my heart, my writing was all emotion. When I finally found peace with those memories, I filed them away and dealt with my mother.
Let me say up front that Mom and I didn’t have an easy relationship. When I get to heaven, I need to ask her forgiveness for doing stupid things when she was going through menopause and didn’t need a snotty teenager.
I really didn’t begin to understand my mother until after her death, which happened 35 years ago this week. Cleaning out her house back then was like picking up puzzle pieces one by one, each bringing a more complete picture of her.
During that time, a picture began to form of a young dream-filled girl. She must have tucked those dreams away when she became a desperate farmwife with a brood of kids during the Depression. She remained resilient throughout her life, left the dreaming to others, and had compassion for veterans, orphans and her grandchildren. She showed her love not with words, but through gifts made on her sewing machine or in her oven.
Today, seeing my growing up years through the wide-angle lens of time, I’m surprised at the truths that comes out. Through writing, I’ve discovered so much about my parents, siblings and extended family. Age and distance have brought the events and meaning of their lives into sharper focus.
Just as a runner thinks everyone should run, and a teacher thinks everyone should teach, and a guitar player thinks everyone should play guitar, I think everyone should write! It costs nothing but a bit of paper and time. Write for yourself or your children and grandchildren. Write plainly about one single topic and see how much insight you gain from it.
Writing about your journey and about those with whom you’ve traveled in life is the only way I know to lose yourself and find yourself at the same time. It is a gift from God that you can give yourself.
“The secret of it all is to write… without waiting for a fit time or place.” – Walt Whitman
Do you ever WONDER?
For the first time I picked a word of the year. My word is WONDER. I think it’ll take the whole year to explore the wonders of the word.
This morning, the song in my head is from Lamentations 3: “The Lord’s loving kindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”
Did you get that? Not just a kindness here and there. God’s kindnesses never cease, for his compassions are new every morning. The words weren’t written because the author was having a good day, but in a time of national crisis. Yet, Jeremiah looked beyond the events and saw the power, majesty and kindness of God.
To me that is a wonder! This very day, the God of heaven and earth has good plans for you and me.
Have you picked a word for the year? It’s never too late. Let me know what your word is.
Happy Valentine’s Day!