I’ve always written. I can’t think of a time, since I first picked up a crayon or pencil, that I’ve not written.
It’s 13-Nov-2015, and I’m in the midst of something called NaBloPoMo. I don’t even remember what that stands for, but it is something similar to NaNoWriMo, the yearly trek for writers of fiction to complete 50,000 words in the month of November, except it is for Blogs.
I suppose it is something like No-Shave November. Or maybe the opposite of it. Or maybe the comparison doesn’t hold up, apart from it being 30 days of doing, or not doing, something consistently. Words. Beards. Go figure.
I signed up for NaBloPoMo two–maybe three–years ago, and stuck it on my 101 Things in 1001 days list. And I didn’t succeed either year. My 1001 days are starting to run out, and I am stubborn enough that I can’t stand to complete goals that I set, so here I am, trying to knock this out in 2015.
But as I’ve formed posts over the past 12 days, I’ve given some thought as to why I write. And the answer is probably not interesting to anyone besides myself, but hey, I need a post for today, so here it is:
Writing is sanity to me.
It always has been. I used to fill up notebooks and diaries with easily-broken-into locks and pictures of horses on the front, and then I’d stash them in the crawl space between our basement and first floor (my bedroom was in the basement). And, through the years, I’ve continued that trend. Once computers came into vogue (gosh, it kills me that there are people who may be reading this who have never known life without computers–that makes me feel so old), my writing slowly graduated to word processing (gasp) and then other forms of documents–Word, Google Docs, Pages on my old Macbook (I miss that thing), this space, and so forth and so on.
In fact, I have two hard drives filled with passworded documents. I don’t know how big those hard drives are, and they are probably not completely full, but there are a lot of words on those portable HDs–words that will never see the light of day.
And I think that is why writing is sanity to me. My brain is a full place. It tends to be chaotic, even. Muddled. And, just as soon as I think I have everything straightened into proper columns in my brain, something comes along–a random doubt about God, a worry about my crew, a philosophical and pointless question, a hard day, a nightmare-interrupted night–and boom, my brain explodes into chaos once again.
But writing—writing settles me. It settles me; I can’t think of any other way to put it.
Particularly, my writing to God.
Yes, I write God. Long letters. I suppose they are prayers; no, really, they are prayers. They are my prayers, to Him, and I can’t hardly pray without writing it down any longer.
It wasn’t until about 6-7 years ago that I started this practice of praying via writing. Well, that’s not completely accurate. As a child, I would write letters to God. But there is this very long period of life, in which I was not certain–at all–if He existed. And, in my soul, I had determined that even if He did exist, I was not going to communicate to Him the things in either my brain or my soul. At all.
But once I started to consider again that He was real, and that scripture was truth, and once I learned the importance of scripture work, and the very real-ness and settledness that comes from scripture work addressed to God, I took up my pen again, and started writing to God. And I started with Psalm 38.
And, part of the reasons why that work–so long ago now–on Psalm 38 brought writing to God again into my life, is these verses right here:
I had become like this man, described here. For a dozen reasons that are unimportant really. The key is that I was like a deaf man–it was so very hard to hear the truth, spoken out loud–the truth about who God was, and the truth about who I am. And I struggled to find words to verbally speak out loud. I was like the mute man. These words were truth for me:
The light of my eyes was gone. Hearing was difficult; speaking even more so.
But I could write.
And I did write. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote. Pages and pages and pages and pages. Many were prayers, some were not. But the key was–writing, once again, became sanity to me.
Earnest Hemingway once said this: “There is nothing to writing. You just sit down at a typewriter, and bleed.”
There is great truth to that.
And Frank Kafka wrote this: “A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity.”
Maybe there is truth in that, as well.
So, I write.
Each morning, I write to God, via both prayer and scripture work–which, for me, often morphs into one and the same.
Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I write to Him as well.
Some days, I block out time to work on my book plans. Some days, I write letters to those I know are hurting. Some days I write neither prayer nor words addressed to anyone in particular, but I write to get the noise out of my brain.
And, sometimes I put words here, in this space.
Words–and writing–are so incredibly important to me.
It settles my soul.
And gives me an avenue to also express praise and worship, to my God.
So grateful, I am, for the avenue of writing, and the gift that words are.
So grateful, I am, that God chose words and scripture to reveal Himself to His children for years and years.
So grateful, I am, that you have stopped by this space, and have read these words, today.
Writing is not life; but I think sometimes it can be a way back to life. ~ Stephen King