Thursday, August 16, 2012

Simple Suggestion #133... Write something

On a shelf in my basement sit two precious boxes. They're precious only to me, because they contain my life as I've written it. Dozens of journals, duotangs, notebooks and one diary -- see the small one with blue flowers on a black background? One of my classmates gave it to me in grade two. It's mostly empty, but it was the start of my written life.

I've been paying return visits to these boxes throughout the summer, because of a few anniversaries of different events in my past. Some of them were happy events, some quite painful... but they're all there, because I had an inexplicable need to write them down at the time. Sometimes I was just bursting with happiness, other times I was in depression, and there were many moments when I was just plain confused about something or other. There's a thick green one that's full of my thoughts and crushes as a teen. The turquoise book was my journal during my three years as an elementary school teacher. My romance with Lee is in a Hilroy Scribbler tucked in one of the fatter books. The one with the flowered still life contains a lot of my first year as a mother.

Some of them contain a me I'd rather forget, but a dear friend taught me a lesson when she tossed her journals into a fire pit, and now sometimes rues the day. Some of the entries among my writings are downright embarrassing now... those I'd gladly toss into a fire!... but others give me insight into the person I've become, or amaze me with their poetry, or their wisdom.

This has been a summer of dandelions -- those annoyingly tenacious plants that have taken over the front boulevarde of our yard -- so I was delighted to rediscover a poem I'd written for a friend who was going through his own rough patch:

Be like the dandelion, my friend,

Send roots deep into the 
earth of wisdom

Show the sunny colours 
of a smile to those you meet

Spread seeds of friendship
and understanding to all corners

Stake a tenacious claim
on the truths of life and love

Remember: There will always be dandelions. 
God loves all of creation.

It's not a masterpiece, I know, but I still like it. Dandelions are a force of nature, and so are we, especially when we can get past the frustrations and struggles in our own lives and still have a hand to lend to those around us who might need it.

I'm so glad that I recorded the dandelion poem in one of my journals before I gave it to my friend. I wonder, what other forgotten gems are in my two writing boxes? Perhaps this winter I'll take the time to read, and embrace once again the person I've been up til now, embarrassing or not.

Henri Nouwen wrote many journals and reflections that, fortunately for us, have been published (I wouldn't want mine to be!) and I particularly like the one below, that I saved for this occasion:
The word must become flesh, but the flesh also must become word.  It is not enough for us, as human beings, just to live. We also must give words to what we are living.  If we do not speak what we are living, our lives lose their vitality and creativity. When we see a beautiful view, we search for words to express what we are seeing. When we meet a caring person, we want to speak about that meeting.  When we are sorrowful or in great pain, we need to talk about it. When we are surprised by joy, we want to announce it! 
Through the word, we appropriate and internalize what we are living.  The word makes our experience truly human.
-- Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey, June 24
This week's Simple Suggestion is one that anyone can do, any time. Even those who don't think of themselves as writers can express what they think, or pen a line about a special person they met, or record their joys for a rainy day.

What will you write today?

Looking for more Simple Suggestions? Try here.

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