12 Days of Thanksgiving
This week I talked to a dear friend I hadn’t visited with in a while. It was just a random encounter using Facebook chat — not ideal, but one of those conversations I think must have been some kind of divine appointment. She told me she was glad I was writing again, saying the 12 days series was giving her a glimpse of how I’m doing. And she made one of those observations I love her for…
“Writing seems to be one of the best processing tools for you.”
Yep, I could probably write a whole essay on those friends who seem to know me through and through regardless of how long it’s been since we’ve talked, but that’s for another time. I’ve been struggling with writing this year, as evidenced by the lack of posting here. Fewer posts mean there are even fewer personal journal entries.
I love to write. It helps me know my own soul. I know this about myself. But, I’ve had trouble finding the motivation this year. I even considered letting go of EyeJunkie altogether. But I couldn’t. Somehow this writing space feels like it’s tethered to my heart. Right now, even after almost no essays this year, I still feel like discontinuing this blog would be like cutting part of myself out of my life.
Before I decided to write this Thanksgiving series again, I had not posted an essay since May. In my last one, I wrote about having taken a break — right before I took ANOTHER long break. At the time, I had been looking for a way to write beyond my experiences with my husband’s death, a way to write from life and joy rather than death. I thought I was ready, and then promptly lost the will to do it. It’s funny how a favored activity can be such a double-edged sword sometimes.
I remember measuring my documentation of the grieving process as if it had surely become tiresome to everyone and simultaneously feeling compelled to give an account of coming through this process to the other side. That double-edged sword. I loved being open about what had happened and how I was dealing with it. I also wanted to suck back all the words as soon as they were out there. I was torn between writing for Mike’s sake, for the world’s sake and for my own sanity. Sometimes I felt this odd need and obligation to simply let my world know we were moving forward. Moving in some way. So that the experiences of grief and confusion weren’t left just hanging there.
This week’s conversation with my friend made me trace back through all those reasonings and obligations. To think and remember and question. And learn from myself about why this act of written processing matters. To question why I’m NOT writing. My answer brought me back to one more encouragement…
“Give yourself some grace and write for the good of your heart.”
There it is. For the good of my heart. Not out of some strange sense of obligation. Or some arbitrary schedule. Or some need to finish what’s been started. For the good of my heart. I lost that somehow. I lost sight that this process is part of helping my heart move forward. Thinking through it and writing through it may be a slow, slow journey, but joy and healing and change come through each step.
Grieving and letting go and moving and changing. It all takes work. Hard work. And courage. The courage to look at difficult things. Confusing things. Unknowable things. It takes work to make sense of what can be understood and let go of what can’t. It takes courage to figure out the difference. It takes work to figure out myself in this new situation. It requires courage to take it all in as part of myself.
I want to be that hard-working and courageous person. I want to show my children that person. I want to see it all the way through — no matter how challenging the view — so that my children know it can be done. So that when they ask the next round of questions, I can say I don’t know. But, let’s look it squarely in the eye — together.
I’m so thankful for these reminders and for one more shift in perspective. I’m thankful for discerning friends and technology that can bring them into my living room. I’m thankful for the seed of courage waiting to be nurtured again. I’m thankful for the grace to accept Mike’s death as part of the fabric of my life — not the defining thread. I’m thankful for the step by step process that is bringing us forward.