I’ve been gone a while.
No you didn’t notice because you were busy living your life. And I was busy living mine- just away from the screens and the typed words for a while. A friend of mine and I took a week away from the media- social and otherwise- anything that added to the tightening in my chest I started feeling on election day. We took a week from all of that but I haven’t written in a month. Not since the day before the election.
After that day it was hard to breathe. It was hard to listen. There was so much noise. So many opinions and fears and so much anger and so much hate. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t write.
There’s a scene in a movie, The Secret Life of Bees, where a character gets so weighed down by the pain and the sadness in her world that she weighs herself down with rocks in a pond and doesn’t come up again. That scene broke me because I’ve felt weighed down before. I’ve experienced desperation that feels inescapable. I’ve felt so lost and so broken and so heavy. After the election, I started to feel weighed down again, and all the posts and the articles and the noise felt like rocks on my chest. I was fighting to keep my head above the water. And all that time I kept asking myself, What can I say? What should I say?
The truth is, I didn’t want to talk.
I didn’t want to talk politics.
I didn’t want to talk race.
I don’t want to talk about anything. Period.
But it’s hard for a writer to stay away from words.
So I said yes when a friend invited me to dinner with a group of women who wanted to talk about post-election fears, questions and concerns.
I said yes to meeting with this diverse group of women, and we talked about mushroom caps and nursing babies and black hair care and black heart care. We talked about the church and it’s role in reconciliation. We talked about love and it’s role in healing. There was laughter, there were tears, there were honest questions and honest answers.
You know what? While we talked something inside of me loosened. The tightening released and I breathed a little easier. While we talked, some of that weight came off. It was like someone was heaving those rocks off my chest.
I left that night feeling like we’d taken a step. I don’t know how far, but we took a step and I’m grateful.
I’m still feeling pretty fragile these days. Still avoiding political posts and articles because I’m far too frail to read them right now. I’ve been snuggling pretty close to Jesus these days. Breathing deeply- inhaling all His love and peace and His Words. His Words. It’s hard for this writer to stay away from His Words.
“…I have overcome the world.”
“Be anxious in nothing…”
“Casting all your cares upon Him for He cares for you.”
“Be strong and courageous…”
“Fear not, for I am with you…”
“For God so loved the world…”
“Peace I give to you…”
Oh they sustain me, they ground me, they fill me and empty me all at once.
When I have nothing to say, He has said it all. When the words this world offers weigh me down, His words lift me, they draw me in, squeeze me tight.
They are the only words from which I’ll never walk away. They are the only words I’ll ever need.
Maybe all the other noise is too loud for you, too? Maybe the posts on social media and the news, and yes even the blogs are too loud and heavy? Maybe you need to snuggle close to Jesus and tune out all of the other words? They are the greatest words you’ll ever hear.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning…”
John 1:1-2 (emphasis added)