There have been several occasions when I knew I wanted to be a writer. The moment I enrolled in a writing class, my desire to write only in journals no longer satisfied me. I'd found another voice; one that I needed to share, not hide. I wanted others to read my stories and they have. It's been a gradual process. A very exciting one! My first published piece appeared in the MB Herald, a magazine printed for my church denomination and one that reaches all Mennonite Brethren churches across Canada. I went on to submit pieces to short story contests. One of those stories made it to the second round of judging; something that gave me the courage to keep on writing. I haven't been able to stop since I penned my opening sentence all those years ago between the pages of my first journal. Back then I didn't think of myself as a writer nor did I ever intend to become a writer. Obviously, God had other plans for me. One in particular keeps on calling me.
There's a story I keep tucked away beneath a layer of clothing in my dresser drawer. It's in the beginning stages and I am the author. Last November I held those pages in my hands and stepped up to a microphone in front of about forty women. All eyes were on me, something that has a tendency to make me nervous. The thought of exposing pieces of my life.... pieces of me, were starting to make me rethink my decision to write something about 'relationships' and then stand up in front of everyone and share it. Even though I was among friends I could feel something inside of me grinding. Nerves rubbing together. At that point I could only hope no one could hear them.
I read my story over and over to myself beforehand. I needed to be sure it made sense. I was worried. What if no one could follow the timeline? Did it flow accordingly? Did I write it in such a way that they could feel exactly what I had felt? Would they understand the message I was trying to convey and what worried me most was how they would feel when they suddenly got a glimpse of the real me and the world I grew up in. It wasn't always a place of harmony yet love still managed to find a way through. But don't the tests of life ring true for everyone? All of our lives are weaved with joy and pain. In fact, my afflictions ultimately triggered my need to write. Penning my feelings definitely lead to healing. And now, there's hardly a day that ticks by where I don't think about writing.
Reading my story in front of this group of women was something completely different for me even though I knew them. Attending the same church doesn't mean you know everyone's state of well being or their sorrow. Our primary focus was to connect with God and get to know one another on a deeper level. What better place than to sink ourselves inside a fortress of trees. The tiny resort was virtually hidden. It was impossible to see even the slightest hint of its existence from the winding road that led us there. The hedge of protection I often pray for lay right in front of me.
When I stepped up to the microphone, I began reading, "Have you ever felt as though you should have been born to a different family?" I could feel my cheeks flush yet I felt it was a legitimate question; a very thought provoking one, to say the least and one I had wrestled with a time or two in my own life. You could have heard a pin drop. I was open and honest, revealing a memorable account of my feelings at a young age and how those memories affected my life into adulthood. Those early years molded many facets of my life.
It's been almost five months since I shared my story and I've been asked on more than one occasion, "Have you started that book yet?" "You have a gift." I was told. I could see the sincerity in her eyes. I know my friend, whom I will call, "G" can't help but ask me whenever we cross paths, just how that book is coming. She believes that I can and should write a book. Each time I swallow hard. I don't have a good enough reason why I haven't started. Even so, I'm not certain those pages are the ones that I would turn into a manuscript. But, if it isn't those than it could be something else. A different topic altogether. And if I have any doubts about my ability to write, they are quickly extinguished the minute my faithful friends and husband encourage me to keep writing.
**Remember, the greatest gift is not found in a store nor under the tree, but in the hearts of true friends.
Quote by: Cindy Lew