I am a writer.
This weekend, a friend referred to me as ‘a writer’. Today, a trusted friend asked me what I plan to do with my writing. I didn’t even know they were aware that I was writing. Yesterday I was challenged to answer the question, “What are you? REALLY – what are you?”. I had to think a while, but I was finally able to write it. There it was – in black and white.
I am a writer.
I cannot tell you how exhilarating and frightening it is to type that statement. It also fills my soul with a sense of freedom that defies description.
Last winter, I attended the Storyline Conference in San Diego. Storyline is designed to help people ‘learn to live a better story’. I went there looking for some spiritual clarity. However, I was blindsided by something much bigger – the possibility of a dream.
If you are one of the artsy, creative twenty- to thirty-somethings in a scarf or a beany that attended this conference, being blindsided by a dream may sound silly to you. You are in the midst of the prime ‘dreaming’ time of your lives. But my three middle aged friends and I (sorry ladies, but it’s true!) – we were definitely in the minority of those attending. Over 40, long finished college, in the midst of our careers, with our kids grown and, um, the age of those in the scarves and beanies.
The speakers and their stories were amazing, inspiring, and touching. Each speaker brought a new perspective, and each story awakened my heart just a little more. It started as a spark, and soon grew into a wildfire.
My search for spiritual clarity was highjacked by a dream – the first surprise was that I could actually still have a dream. The second surprise, and I think my friends would agree, was that we had forgotten how to dream. We spent the last 20-30 years dreaming for others – searching for a partner, building a life with our spouse, raising our children, volunteering at church/school, finding a job/career. So many dreams for others, but often setting aside our own dreams. And in that setting aside, often forgetting how to dream for ourselves. Sometimes those dreams would surface, only to be pushed aside by life. I suppose I should say we allowed those dreams to be pushed aside, but it was not always a conscious decision.
Storyline was the beginning of change for me. I am still not even sure exactly what that means, because the change continues today.One dream turned into another and another, and soon my mind and heart were full. My dream, or dreams, are growing, changing, evolving. I am working on clarifying and refining those dreams. But one thing I know for sure – a dream that had been buried long ago has surfaced. My dream of writing. I wrote a lot when I was younger, but it slowly was replaced by toddlers, carpool, soccer practice, more carpool, and then nursing school and building a career while I watched my three boys grow into young men.
So I started writing again. I’m far from perfect, and that’s okay. My spelling and grammar are rusty, and I was tempted to start studying, or take a class, or just practice on my own, but instead I decided to jump in with both feet, so I started a blog about something I am passionate about – end of life care. I knew nothing about blogs, but I am slowly learning. It was scary, but also intoxicating. I felt like I was home again.
I am a writer, and I have valuable stories to tell. I’m a wanderer, and I love to travel. I am a wife of thirty years, mother of three college age sons, and hospice nurse. I believe that my stories can help heal the hearts of those who are hurting. I can tell them that they are not alone. I can encourage those who feel that their marriage is broken beyond repair, because I’ve been there, and have come out the other side. I can walk with those broken hearts whose children are prodigals, and I can tell you that there is hope even if things don’t end up the way we think they should. I can tell the story of the healing journey of a grown-ass woman who beomes 8 years old again when her parents are hurtful because she believes the lie “I must have the approval of certain others in order to feel good about myself”. I can stand with those disenfranchised church people who are middle-aged or empty-nesters (gahhhhh, I hate both of those terms) who, just as twenty- and thirty-somethings, long for the people of God to be known for great love, kindness, justice, forgiveness, inclusion, and grace rather intolerance and elitism.
I will tell the story of my beautiful, holy mess,
so I can stand with those who feel they are standing alone.
I am a writer.