Sunday, September 28, 2014

Still Reflecting

View from Moose (Alces) Lake Campground, Whiteswan Provincial Park, BC

A friend asked recently when I was going to start blogging again. She missed it and others missed it. Another person who is very close to me doesn't have any framework for why writing publicly about one's life is of interest to others. These two opposing perspectives also exist in my heart and head when I consider writing.

The answer to why I do or don't write is not so simple. I began blogging in 2005. It was a space to dump the jigsaw puzzle of my thoughts out onto the table of the Internet and sort through it all to make some sort of connections between both my thoughts and the lives of others. It was sometimes humour, sometimes angst, often juvenile and beginner level writing. I took classes to hone my skills, increase the complexity and accessibility of my poetry and articles and began publishing certain pieces. This is a life-long pursuit: to articulate that which the heart struggles to convey in hopes another will say, “Oh, now I see.” Or “You too? I thought I was the only one who felt that way.”

As a writer who was compelled to write, I used to say, "I simply can't NOT write" (and yes, I know that's incorrect grammar). In the processing of blogging and increasing Facebook posts and the trauma of losing my spouse of 31 years, a number of people began following my blog and Facebook page. I was both perplexed and grateful. Many are interested because they love me, many knew and loved my late husband, some are like-minded writers and bloggers, some are strangers who find a kindred voice. For whatever ways we may have found each other, I believe we share a resonance in matters of life, death, heart and soul.

David Whyte describes the phenomenon in this way: "You could say people are reading me like they read my poetry and they are following the unfolding of each chapter. None of us really knows how the chapter is going to proceed or what themes or characters are going to make themselves known."1

One of my ongoing themes has been “busyness.” This is a challenge to every writer – the tyranny of the urgent which crowds out the more important issues of life. Early this year, I returned to full time work for the first time in twenty years. This, in and of itself, was a phenomenal challenge, as I was still emerging from grief in the extraordinary loss of my spouse and had not had a significant break from work since his death, all while trying to maintain a home, wade through legal and financial matters and support my son as a widow and single mom.

The very same week I began my new job, I had my first date with a very interesting man.

Since these two significant life events began, I've written very little about my inner life. Work and romance have filled my days. This has also made less room for photography, singing and poetry, along with my blogging, but they each have filled my soul in different ways, so I was not found wanting.

The job has a steep learning curve and high workload. It has only been the past couple of weeks as we have become fully staffed, where I feel I have finally hit my stride. Woken up, as it were, to the strength of my former gifts and found a rhythm with my duties and become comfortable in the dance of teamwork with my colleagues. It's inappropriate to blog about work, so there was nothing out of which to write there. Duties also included much editing and writing, so the compelling need to write in my spare time was lessened.

The budding relationship captures my remaining time and thought. The intellectual and emotional processing of a new relationship after such a wounding loss has been a significant draw on my emotional resources. The one great gift in my new love is that he also has experienced deep loss and is a few years further down the road in the healing, so can understand much of my pain and provide perspective from his own healing journey. He speaks peace into places of my life where I didn't even realize I was wounded.

Our ongoing relationship and subsequent marriage on August 30 has been a sacred space, and inappropriate to parade publicly before blog or Facebook followers. It is a place of wholesome, holy wholeness.

That being said, I am now at a place of personal contentment and joy beyond anything I ever anticipated. I could shout from the rooftops the incredible delight which this man has brought into my life; the beautiful sense of home we find in each others’ heart; the daily satisfaction of job well done as we put order to our household and find shelter in each others’ arms.

So, Jill, for you, I offer this blog. And for the rest of the family and friends (new and old) who wish to follow the unfolding of each chapter, I write this for you. I write it for the joy of finding that beyond shadow, beyond living to the point of tears, there is hope because a new day has dawned, a new chapter has begun.

It is only by God’s sweet mercy and generous grace that I am healing and becoming whole again. Human efforts are limited and skewed, rife with mixed motives and complex, intricately-crafted defenses. Ultimately, this is a story about our lives being the roads God travels – it is his work, to will and to do of his good pleasure as he makes everything work into a pattern for good in the lives of those who love Him.

I can’t promise how often I’ll write, but I’m still here, and I’ll write when I can. If you’re hearing me, keep talking, liking, loving. We are on this journey together. Be brave and make yourself known. We need each other to help find our courage and have those difficult conversations, living to the point of tears2, experiencing, as Yates would have said, “A fierce, terrible beauty.”3

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