"Breathings of your heart." There's a warmth to that phrase. It is beautiful and gentle but honestly, not always realistic. We have all had morning breath, or garlic breath. Sometimes we snore. Sometimes we belch. Admittedly, sometimes our breathings are not pleasant. The physical solution is to brush our teeth, have a mint, chew some gum. But what about our internal breathings, when they are not gentle but ugly? What do we as writers do with that?
At the end of last year our family went through a tumultuous time (see my Dec. 2014 post). So much uncertainty. Yet through it all, God was faithful. We continue to work through things and He has brought abundant healing. Still, fear seems to be dying a slow death. Every now and then it lifts its moribund head and points its enfeebled finger at me. And to my surprise, I cringe.
Can I write about that? When life is foul? When human fears niggle at my heart and mind? I have found that it is especially in those dark times that I NEED to write in order to process. Last fall a writer friend gave me the book, Writing as a Way of Healing by Louise DeSalvo. This book has helped me write with the purpose to heal and I recommend it to anyone who needs a guide to be able to do that. I journalled my way through those months, kept my sanity, and clung to God. Many of the poems I wrote for November's NaNoWriMo (I did the Writer's Digest Poem-a-Day prompts) voiced my pain--some hope but mostly pain. It was therapy--Holy Spirit-driven therapy. I knew God's presence as I breathed out my fears, my anger, my angst, my questions. And I also knew that God did not condemn my vulnerability--that He loves me ALL the time and accepts me, bad breath and all.
So, can I, should I, share these breathings with others? I am learning that if I truly DO believe that my worth is found in God and that He loves me unconditionally (Jeremiah 31:3), then I can be vulnerable with others. I can be brave in sharing who I really am in my writing. In her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown says it this way: "Courage is telling our story, not being immune to criticism. Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection."
Last November, in the thick of a long list of unexpected events, something especially painful happened. A group of people that we felt safe with came alongside us in all our questions of what to do. But instead of showing grace and love with a listening ear, they bombarded us with questions, gave us advice, and then shunned us when all we needed was support. I was so hurt and angered by the experience that for a while I couldn't even voice my pain. But I found I could write my pain and it helped me heal.
Since then, I've had two opportunities to come alongside someone struggling in the same way. God gave me the courage to be vulnerable and share a specific poem--an ugly poem that expressed my pain. My breathings did not offer answers but they did offer connection and comfort. They knew that I understood their pain and anger and that they weren't alone. And both these people thanked me for my honesty.
And now God is asking me to be brave right now and share this poem here. My prayer is that it will resonate with someone who has felt rejection and offer comfort. I must also add: I am SO thankful that God never rejects me, never rejects you--that His love is unlimited and relentless.
Those sorries said are whitewashed tombs,
A cultured, hollow word,
A sorry here, a sorry there,
So heartless, dead, absurd.
You speak of care so tenderly,
With arms so stiff and cold,
In corpse-like form you shut the door,
And toss me from the fold.
Sepulchre of hypocrisy,
Rejection’s work is done,
For actions are the tell-tale sign,
And yours—they count for none.