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:
“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.
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. 🙂