Tag Archives: pain

Why I Stopped Writing

For four years I wrote.

Cried.

Bled my heart out in red-inked words handwritten on pads of pristine white-lined paper.

Searched for my story as I fingered letters on my keyboard, and prayed a melody would emerge from the chaos of my life.

I wrestled with my story, my words, myself.

I fought. I faltered. I failed.

“All writing is prayer,” said the wise and witty Anne Lamott.20121206_155310

For years I felt my prayers went unanswered.

The pain. Would not. Go away.

Then ever so slowly, it began to ebb. I kept writing, but no instant miracle came. It was one agonizingly plodding word after another—like climbing the very last, steepest section of a mountain. Exhausted, barely breathing in the thin air, and only able to focus on the ground beneath my feet . . .

When I started to catch glimpses of healing, I became more afraid of the life that lay ahead than the pain I was living in. I knew my pain so well, and found a deep intimacy with my creator within the pain. As crazy as it sounds, I struggled to embrace the healing changes.

But I couldn’t stop what I had put in motion. What started as a desire to find some validation for my insecure, “I’m never good enough” writer self became, sometime in the process, less about a story for others to read and more about writing for the redemption of the deepest, most holy, and sacred sufferings of my life.

Words that flowed like a flood for years gradually ebbed over time to become puddles of less and less tears.

One day in my writing the sun came out. Full in my face sun. Sun that woke me to the beauty of what my life could be beyond the pain, and beyond my writing about it.

I stopped writing and went outside in the sun to play. And I’ve had no pain for the last six months.

NO. PAIN.

I honestly never imagined in those four years of agony that it would be possible.

Sometimes miracles happen in slow-motion.

In slow, very slow, writing. In slow tears, slow prayers, and slow-to-come joys.

Now, every day, I’m slowly living again.

Sacred, holy, beautiful, joyful, messy, imperfect, failure-filled, redemptive, miraculous living. Authored by the one who took all the words I wrote and rewrote each and every one–in red–redemption red.

With slow dripping . . . His lifeblood, poured out–A greater love had no one than this. 

Now your drink offering (Phil 2:14!) sacrificed to be set free,

and to set free those captive with you,

bound in this covenant to the One whose red words cover, purify and save.

The world,

Drawn to communion,  by His radiant red life,

Bright and bonded, pooling spirit, split and covenanted, dead to all else,

and held within this terrible beauty,

Of his holy blood.

Dear beautiful friend, fellow story-liver, slow writer, tear puddler, pain and shame sufferer, and messy, joyful, abundant life seeker —

Please write your story. Even if no one ever reads it.

Because who you really are—healed and whole-hearted and living in the sacred space of you—must be given to you.

Sometimes it’s a slow, holy process, but exploring the darkness to discover the light is so worth it.

Coloring Life Beautiful on PInterest“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
― Brené Brown

Dare, brave ones. I’m praying for you–for the courage to own your story, to embrace slow writing and slow healing as you allow every word of your beautiful, messy, imperfectly perfect, painful yet glorious, story to be rewritten. In red.

I can’t begin to tell you how beautiful life becomes in the slowly dawning light.  🙂

Linda Crawford

hike
My first mountain hike in 4 years with a dear friend this past spring.

(The beautiful poem above was a gift of words given to me in the midst of my suffering by my friend, writing coach, and fellow holy wonderer, Mick Silva)

Opening Closed Eyes

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. 

-Marcel Proust

My eyes cried tears of joy (not pain) last week–for the first time in years.

I’m better. I’m healing. I’m returning to life and life is returning to me.

I can walk, dance a little, play golf and laugh more. A whole lot more.

After years of pain tears . . . I don’t want to cry them anymore. I want to turn the page, start a new chapter, and read only forward. I want to close my eyes to my story of pain, and live only in the joy of my story of healing.

But you . . . you force open my closed eyes.

You who hurt. You who still suffer and shed pain tears that stream down your face and flood your life with fear, hopelessness, and despair.

I have chosen to sit with you, to share hope for healing, to make it my life’s purpose to serve you and help you in your healing journey as best I can.

You who hurt–you who open my closed eyes–you inspired me to cry again today. To read backwards and remember. To cry for me, and you, and all who suffer and hurt.

I can give you my knowledge, my skill, my training, and my hope. But that will never be enough–without giving you my heart.

I know you hurt. I’ve hurt too.

Exactly one year ago today I wrote this:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On Scrubbing and Swearing and Succumbing

I’m down on my knees scrubbing the soap scum in the tub, praying it won’t hurt this time. But it does, it always does.

My foot is taped up and my back is cinched together with a belt. So I can walk. Until it hurts; it always does.

I’m at the doctor/physical therapist/massage office again. Because I hurt. I always do.

My recent self-portrait.  A much younger, happier me!
My recent self-portrait–a much younger, happier me!

 

I’ve had surgery, needles, medicine, and treatments that were supposed to help. Two have disabled me, another one almost killed me. My healing becomes more complicated and elusive, and counting time behind or ahead only confuses me now. Pain and fatigue are constant companions, bad friends. There are days I battle them with all my might, days they relent and give me peace, and days I just lay down in the middle of the ring and quit.

On stormy days swear words want to scream out of the frustration in my belly…so people will hear, really hear, the reality of my struggle.

But I know—only one really hears, only one really knows.

I remember running, I remember the breeze against my face riding a bike along the river trail, sweat dripping into my eyes after a boot-camp workout.

I want to run. I want to dance. I want to climb my mountain, stand on the summit, and proclaim victory over the defeat that has tried to consume me. I want it to echo across the valley, bounce off the other mountaintops and return to me. So I too, can hear it.

These pains, this suffering, should be called out on strikes, ruled unfair, and banished to the out-of-bounds of my life. I was in the game, I played well. The other players beat me up—didn’t listen or care for me like I deserved, failed in their oaths to “do no harm.”

But none of that matters, here on my knees.

Why the pain, who caused the pain, when I will be relieved from pain.

Only Jesus matters.

He’s scrubbing away the scum.

Polishing, always polishing, the glory He desires to reveal.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You who hurt–thank you for opening the eyes of my heart.

I give you the tears of my heart and my prayers for your healing.

Hold on. Hold on. 

Your story is still being written. Your beauty polished.

And I believe with all my being, with all my heart, with all my suffering and all my joy . . . there is.

There is. There is . . . healing in the pain.

You who hurt–I cry today in awe of your courage.

~ Linda 

BPS Integrated TherapyI have recently returned to work as an occupational therapist, exclusively treating people in chronic pain. To find out more about my unique treatment approach visit me at BPSTherapy.com

A Prayer for the Suffering

A scripture and prayer for you who are afflicted today:

“Lord, hear my prayer! Listen to my plea! Don’t turn away from me in my time of distress. Bend down to listen, and answer me quickly when I call to you. For my days disappear like smoke, and my bones burn like red-hot coals. My heart is sick, withered like grass, and I have lost my appetite. Because of my groaning, I am reduced to skin and bones. I am like an owl in the desert, like a little owl in a far-off wilderness. I lie awake, lonely as a solitary bird on the roof.”    Psalm 102:1-7 NLT

The Lord hears your cries. The spoken and unspoken cries of your suffering.

adversity sufferingMay He restore your joy and your strength. May He feed you with the bread of life and the living water to restore your health and revive your heart.

Comfort this one I pray for Lord, this lonely owl in the desert, and lead them to the oasis of your love.

Though life may feel like a desert during difficult times, You alone God, are able to bring water forth from rocks and rain down bread from heaven for food.

May you drink and eat today, and know that God will never leave you in your time of distress. In the wilderness of life–He is there.

desert prayer

In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Linda Crawford

Writing to Reveal the Unraveling Stitch

Rewritten in RedI’m writing on my memoir this week, praying I write honestly of what the world has been to me in the dark and light places and that my words will help reveal the stitch that unravels hidden fear. And hidden SHAME.

Writing my story is how God is setting me free of fear and shame. Because telling our story is how we overcome the author of shame, the one who accuses us relentlessly of never being “enough.”

For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who relentlessly accuses them day and night before our God, has been cast down and silenced.

By the blood of the Lamb and the word of their witnesses, they have become victorious over him.

Revelation 12:10-11 VOICE

unashamedYes, by his RED blood, and the word of our testimony, we overcome the accuser.

You have a story too. Praying for you to share it–unashamed!

Linda Crawford

Why I Must Write – No Matter What

It was a rough week of suffering with physical issues and lack of sleep and I stopped writing on my memoir. I told my writer’s group friends it would be a miracle if I wrote anything this week . . . but they wouldn’t let me off the hook. I  got this (and more) in response:Write No Matter What

“I’ve often wondered how the most depressed and pained people can survive as writers. Now I think, they couldn’t have survived any other way. 

We close off from life and suffer the consequences. We lose our ability to value what we have, the stories we contain that need to be expressed. There is no greater agony than holding a story inside that longs for expression.”

Thank God for real friends who aren’t afraid to confront you with the truth. I changed my writing goals to these:

1. Write no matter what, even if it’s crap.
2. Write some more, no matter what, even if it’s worse crap.
3. Write even more, look at the words and see their beauty.
4. Be grateful for stupid friends who pray and believe for you and speak the words of life you need to hear.
5. Pray for stupid friends and write even more because you know they’ll be back praying for you and being stupid if you don’t.

Later that night, when I still couldn’t sleep, I wrote. Then shared it with my stupid friends (a term of utmost endearment in our group).

Now I share it with you. Because it’s true–there is no greater agony than holding a story inside that longs for expression.”

This just might become the opening to my memoir:

One morning, probably a cold one, in darkness just before sunrise, the misty dew froze along the ruffled edges of a hundred pink and yellow rose petals. Then . . . light, and the frosty aspirations of the dark quickly melted. The stems took a nourishing sip of life.

After living in my house for almost 5 years, I finally counted them—we had 50 rose bushes.  Every fall they would defy the forward marching of the seasons and gift us with a second glorious blooming, bravely enduring morning after morning as the frosty fingers of upcoming winter attempted to bully their beauty into a final surrender. . . to the cold, to dark days, to deadness. 

Though I don’t remember well the exact weather of the day I almost surrendered, my memory thinks it was cold, with the filtered sunlight of a sun traveling south for the winter. Probably because I felt much the same—cold, filtered, headed south.

I had hit middle age, recently endured a season of loss and tragedy, and my sanity was fading. My petals felt frosted every morning, and the cold of it was frightening. But there was no one to tell about my fears, or about the demons of my memories, because I was determined to conquer them on my own. After all, I had always survived before, stuffing fear and trauma down with hidden boxes of chocolate chip cookies, and when those were gone, bags of just chips.

Sticky handfuls of semi-sweetness numbed the pain and unscrewed the unrelenting torsion of fear and pain in my gut—except they didn’t. Instead, it became an act of hating myself. For my fears, my failures, my insecurities, my grief, and my shame. I feared fear and pain, and so became captive to them. I kept my outside looking happy, but on the inside I loathed my imprisoned, weak, and tormented self.

On this cold day of frosted rose petals, my mind was losing the battle for control of the happy outside and the broken inside, and I knew it. I was beyond cookies. I had to tell my story of horror, the one I was convinced no one would believe . . . or die.

It would be the first of many stories I would have to tell. 

I discovered later that yellow roses mean friendship, jealousy, infidelity, apology, a broken heart, intense emotion, undying love, and extreme betrayal.

Pink roses mean: GRACE

God always plants pink roses in with the yellow in life.

Today, I went and clipped two pink roses that survived the cold of a light frost last night. Ten minutes later my daughter sent me a recording she had just made singing Amazing Grace in six part harmony.

I cried.

My story longs for expression. So I will live.

Perhaps yours does to.

Write. No. Matter. What.

My “stupid” incredibly talented and loving friends are part of Your Writers Group http://www.yourwritersgroup.com/. If you are a writer and could use some friends like mine, come and join us. We’ll love you and pray for you and push you too.  🙂

Linda Crawford

The Beauty in the Dark

To love beauty is to see light.  -Victor Hugo

Some may say there’s no beauty to be seen in the dark . . .

perhaps believe that darkness is the absence of light . . .

or preach that only dark things happen in the dark.

But not me.

I’ve found a secret place in the dark…where sorrows, pain, and grief burst forth in a melody of tears that only God hears.

Continue reading The Beauty in the Dark