I thought it was fear that was holding me back from writing, but recently I discovered something that was lost many months ago. I had convinced myself that I was afraid to put pen to paper or to sit down with my laptop and put words down on the page. That I was too anxious to focus on writing.
So I put them aside to pursue other passions and even though I continued to tell myself that I would come back to them, I left the words unspoken. I allowed the empty page to remain unfilled. Instead, I focused on drawings. On tablet weaving. On costuming. On biking. And photography. And community. And storytelling.
But I let the page remain empty.
There was a time when I could sit down and pour out my soul through these words, like a spring emerging from the ground. I was able to let the words flow, allowing myself to process everything that I have felt and experienced. But over the past two years, that river has seemed to dry up. And for the longest time, I thought it was fear that was holding me back from forming these words.
And while I have enjoyed these other pursuits and adventures, I keep on coming back to writing. Or at least staring at a blank page.
I have come to discover that it was never fear that kept me from writing, but a deeper emptiness that has been yearning to be filled once again. It was joy. More specifically, the lack of joy that I felt as I sat down to put words onto the page.
I think part of it is my job as a dispatcher, but I also know that this is an excuse. Perhaps I’ve been avoiding sharing because I don’t know what to say, but I know this is an excuse as well.
What I’ve come to realize is that there was a time when writing made me happy. It brought me joy. It made me smile. And I find myself struggling for words now because the joy that the words once brought has become a battle for survival.
Don’t get me wrong, the joy is still there (or here?), it’s just more difficult to discover.
I still enjoy writing. I still like putting words onto the page. It just takes me longer to process the lines and marks that fill the blank space.
I recently had someone ask me how I can remain so happy and joyful after I hear and witness everything that happens over the phone and radio at work. There are times when the darkness of the world seems like it is pressing in on me, but still I smile. There are times when it feels like the walls are crumbling down around me, but yet, I still see light in the darkness.
I’ve come to understand that the moments in which we live can cause us to be happy or sad, they can bring us to our knees or lift us up to our feet, or cause pleasure or pain. But despite all that, no matter what, I have the choice to live a life of joy or sorrow.
And I have chosen joy. And hope. And love.
I can smile through the pain and focus on the light because my faith has given me strength to live life to the fullest. I can stand after the weight of a soul crushing call knocks me down because my God has already given me victory.
And when it becomes difficult to write and to process everything, I know that nothing that I do can ever overcome the struggle, but I don’t have to, because my relationship with my God has already given me joy in the process.
I’ve come to realize in the past couple days that, while I struggle to find the words to put on the page, nothing can change the joy that the process has allowed me to discover once again.
We tend to think that life should be easy. We expect to be given the prize without the fight. We don’t want to get our hands dirty or be bloodied in the fight. But it is the struggle that teaches us so much about the mercy and majesty of our Father in heaven.
This is where I find myself with writing.
Perhaps one day it’ll be easier as it once was, but until then, I will continue to smile through the struggle.