Some days, it’s not so much about WHAT to write, but WHERE to begin.
I sit here, staring at my laptop—the breeze blowing through the tiny little hideaway from which I have been hiding—and my thoughts won’t slow down long enough for me to catch one and throw it up on the screen. Grasping for words usually isn’t an issue for me. Unless, of course, there are more words than I know what to do with.
The last three months of hit-or-miss writing have not been born out of a lack of words as much as an overabundance of them. Heavy words like pain, depression, fatigue, or illness. Expressions laden with double meanings like under the weather and over the limit and have had my fill. Phrases that cut to the core like there’s nothing I can do to help you or we’re going to need to try yet another medication or I’ve done all I can do. Tired, weary, well-worn words like suffering, faith, perseverance, hope. Words I can’t quite put into sentences.
Words I would like to erase.
I would love, instead, to fill a fresh page with a lifetime’s worth of new words: Adventure. Healing. Peace. Passion. Joy. Intimacy. Love. Health. Contentment. Laughter. Gratitude. Expectancy. Faith. I would like to write passionate sentences imbued with their meanings. I would like to live a life that strings them together, weaving an intricately simple storyline of restoration and redemption. I would like to taste their promise—to eat them whole and then sit, fat and happy, while they fully digest, their flavor still lingering on my tongue.
It is no coincidence that I now, finally, find words—now, a week away from leaving on our mission trip. Now—with phrases of another tongue slipping through my brain faster than I can get a hold of them and file them for future use—now I am able to sit down and reflect on the past five months worth of dark, desperate words. To consider how it could possibly have been that in the midst of experimenting with joy I found myself once again in the grip of clinical depression and chronic pain. To contemplate what on earth the past 150 days of reading and wrestling and struggling and lamenting and pleading and shaking my grimy, clutchy fist could possibly have to do with what comes next.
And yet I know they somehow do—in that way that you just know that you know. Something is stirring in that deep, wordless space within my spirit, and with a week to go I am increasingly aware of a vague, unsettling sense that I am on the verge of something.
I do not yet know what words will fill in the blanks that follow the what, where, when, and why’s. I just know the blanks are there. And I have the distinct feeling there are new words I will be learning over the next few weeks, the most important of which will probably not be in Spanish.
Where these words will take me, I cannot predict. Where they start and where they end are mysteries beyond my capability to understand. But sometimes, it’s not so much about where to begin.
Sometimes, it’s all about where do we go from here.