I’m not sure what I was thinking.
I love writing and have for quite some time. I should have revealed it’s therapeutic qualities to my daughter months ago.
My daughter, the writer. She’s organically etched her words in dozens of journals stuffed into drawers and under her bed. She has a lot to say. She listens to her Rescuer, and she’s not afraid to speak back.
It’s an interesting season, for she’s stepped onto that roller coaster called “almost middle school”. Bless her. Like anything in this unraveling world, I’d bear her angst if I could. But my job is to lead her, equip her, in daily finding her own story.
Yes, life is hard, even as a kid, when your mind and heart boast maturity one day but are bound by a child’s perspective the next. It’s hard, too, to hold your confusion as you’re riding that roller coaster without it spilling onto the person next to you.
Have you caught someone’s wrath before? Have you spilled your pain onto another?
“Here, my dear. Here’s a notebook. Write out your hurts and let your journal catch your anger. Take a breath, and then we’ll talk.”
“Will you read it, Mom?” she risks.
“No. But I will if you want me to.”
She assures me she won’t. The job of Savior is already taken, I remind myself.
So the first day in our new routine, she came into my office after school and grabbed her journal. She clenched her jaw and focused her gaze and wrote and wrote and wrote in silence. She wrote until we packed up to leave. Homework would have to wait that day.
The pen she grabbed from the depths of her backpack was a beautiful gem of an instrument.
“You know,” I said, “I love that you chose that pen to write out your frustrations. It’s so beautiful. It’s sort of a reminder God will redeem all the ugly stories of your life someday. Don’t you think?”
She nodded slowly. “I like it… because I’m writing in… pen.”
She narrowed her eyes and stared off into her heart, nodding ever so slightly, until she brought her gaze to mine.
She nodded again in silence with a question on her face as if to discern if I got her message.
I got it.
“Yeah, pen,” I whispered. For a moment, we traded roles again. I was the student, and she was wise beyond her years. She was the one moving me forward. You see, I will choose to journal in pencil every time. Pencil is safe and subtle and unthreatening. It’s changeable when you’ve risked too much. If you’ve been a bit too honest, well, you can erase your boldness and try again another day.
Not with pen. My daughter’s words were out there. They were raw and brave, and no one could erase her honesty. And she was okay with it. My goodness, she was okay with it.
Maybe we don’t like our truth, but it’s ours. And it’s real. And how can miracles happen without having something to restore?
The pen, it’s a starting place. It’s a bold, bold stroke onto a page of hope. There’s no denying what’s on your heart.
“There can’t be growth without pain,” a Brazilian mom told me one day. They were here for just a few months, and her five year-old cried every morning when she dropped him off at school. Confusing language, different routines, new school culture. My comfort place was her son’s fear. His growth.
Pedro’s mom would have chosen pen.
When we dig deep and harvest courage, the fragments boast honesty and the exposed heart whispers, “I’m real”. And there’s something welcoming about a person who’s truly lived, isn’t there?
Yes, where is redemption without something to redeem? Where is healing without the wounds? Where is wholeness without the shards?
Will you lean into your truth in Twenty Fifteen? You know, that truth that’s spilling over from last year? Can you grab the pen instead of choosing to be safe? And together on December 31, 2015, maybe we’ll ponder the healing and freedom this year has brought us.
I really can’t wait.
* Dedicated to my daughter’s teacher, Miss Hauser, for suggesting the journal.