Writing is a very tricky thing. It takes courage and surrender. It requires initiation and patience and I run short on both in most the areas of my life. When writing begins sometimes I don’t, well, most times I don’t know where it will end or where it will take me. Blogging has become a life line for me. It has transformed my inner world into an outer world. It keeps me sane. It connects me to those I may never know and deepens my love for words.
Trusting my intuition is the most difficult part. Many times I begin a piece and then let it go. I put it aside because the depth the intuition was begging me to delve towards is painful and I don’t like pain! My writing began years ago as a collegial sharing of words during my years as a youth minister. Now, it has transformed into an outlet of my deepest hopes, fears, longings, and all the stuff I couldn’t say out loud to those around me. My intuitions kept bringing me back to the words. Intuition kept dropping the words in my head and poking me to bring them to life with my hopes, fears, and longings.
It has taken form in many, many words…
Icing over (well, that’s two words)
So many words, so many thoughts, so much to let flow through me…surrender…that’s another word. Surrender. I really think when I trusted my hands to let the words flow through them my writing became a life line. I let the words flow from brain to fingers without stopping the honesty, hurt, love, hope, and fear. It became the artistic expression I had hoped it could be. It became a way to connect with the unconnected. It became a way for me to see the beauty of my pain. It continues to allow me the grace of reflection on my journey merely by rereading words from my past.
Trusting my new muse, the grief I lived with after my husband’s death, has been a tricky endeavor. Grief is a raw, somewhat intolerant muse. Its depth feels like I will drown in it at times. It challenges me to take the feelings, wrap them in words that I struggle to find and then arrange them in some sort of meaningfulness. Many times I think the meaning is present only for me, but I am often surprised that the work I struggle the most with, and that I feel has no sense to it, is the work that touches the wider audience. Somehow, I think the struggle adds to the meaning…even when it feels inadequate to me.
Trust the process.
Up and down, back and forth, the words force their way through me and compel me to put them together. I have had words help people and infuriate people. I have had people believe me to be a crazy person and others find wisdom.
Words have pulled me through the dark and lonely days and nights of widowhood. Years have passed and one thing has been there for me every time I need it…writing. When I could barely breathe because he was gone, I could write. When I didn’t want to get out of bed because he was gone, words would float through my mind. When I was overwhelmed by my role as sole parent, I could put my frustration on a page and reach beyond the walls of my home that seemed to be suffocating me in what could have been. Blogging brought me a place of expression, release, and empowered me to endure my broken heart, my broken life.
Blank pages on a computer screen became a mirror of my journey through grief. The words gave hope to my journey. The words became a point of growth and propelled me toward the future. They helped me see the worthiness of my pain and that life was still very worthwhile too. Even a future, a future without my husband, a future I never wanted to think about again, was worthwhile. Not only was it worthwhile, it would become a life full of joy and compassion…two things I thought were gone forever.
Through my journey, I have been blessed to be included in a collaboration of courage. I have met others who were also willing to share their stories for others. I have been connected to projects that encourage the broken-hearted to mend their hearts and continue to strive for love and a new normal. When I was first widowed, this was not something easily found. I am so proud to have my words included in the revolution of how we acknowledge grief. To be included in creative, works of art that take the remarkably raw, painful, yet hopeful and courageous, takes my breath away and humbles me greatly.
The thought of my words being included alongside the beautiful poems and prose of The Widow’s Handbook is amazing to me. When I think of my journey, my loss, and the solidarity that my words bring me, I feel incredibly fortunate…believe me, I see the irony in it…the worst moment of my life leading me toward those feelings…is not lost on me. Intuition, surrender, and trusting the process…both of writing and healing from the unhealable…astound me and I have trouble wrapping my mind around it all.
I will continue to trust, though. I will continue to surrender. I will continue to miss him and heal my heart when it aches. I will continue to write and let the words take me where they will and when I get to other side of their plan, I will feel lucky to have them floating within me…always.
Christine Thiele is a free lance writer, high school history teacher, and a former professional and volunteer youth minister. She has written for The Journal of Student Ministries, YouthWorker Journal , Grief Digest, OpentoHope.com and is a contributing author in Open to Hope, Inspirational Stories of Healing After Loss and several other essay collections. Along with her writing, Christine is raising her two sons. Since her husband's death in 2005 from pancreas cancer, her writing has been focused on grief and healing issues.