Step into any writing class and you are likely to hear these two key principles: firstly, write what you know, and secondly, write what you want to read.
I’ve been thinking about a third one recently: write what you need to hear.
Because sometimes in the flurry and fluster, the bustle and bombardment, the weight and the weary; heck, even in the hype and the happy of life, we can get a little deaf. And the loudest voices getting through aren’t always the best ones.
These are the words I’d like myself to listen to, slow and steady, calm and measured, and hopefully they will speak to you too, somewhere in the middle and mess of your own particular situation:
Dear you,Funny old you. You who feels a little like a tree of late. Not a tall, straight, unmoving one, but a small, leaning, prone-to-tremble one. Like that tree you saw a few weeks ago on a family road trip and took a photo of, not because it was particularly impressive or unusual, but because something about the way its little leaves all trembled in the wind, even as the sunlight threaded its fingers over and through them, seemed familiar. And the soft sigh sound those leaves made as they rubbed against one another was this: honest.
It’s been a tough few weeks. Life has been, for want of a better word, ‘strange’. Good strange. Bad strange. Exciting strange. Struggle strange. There’s been a lot of change. And rain. And very little sleep. And your nervy nerves have been doing their jumpy jig.
And there have been decisions and indecisions. And thoughts of the future. And whenever there’s any thought of the future, in come dancing those twin cousins fear and fantasy. And a crazy conga line of ‘what-ifs’ starts spinning whirly circles through your mind. While fear’s flip side, fantasy, or big-dreaming, starts singing it’s grass-is-greener-over-there serenade over the top, even though you know that’s not the whole truth either.
And then there’s only one thing left to do:
And let the glorious truths flow freer and bolder than all the what-ifs and the imaginings…
You are not a tree, you are a branch
Everything you do, you do in him. Everything you do, he does in you
You aren’t the maker of the plans, you are merely a guest on the journey
Guest of the sustainer, the keeper, the bearer-upperer, the healer
Guest of the stay-up-all-night-never-slumbering carer
If you lean, you lean into him
If you sigh, he hears you, no matter how soft, no matter where
If you feel humble, and small, that’s not so bad either
Because he doesn’t want prideful, he wants God-full
And sometimes that may look like the glass being half-full, but really, it is overflowing
And weakness leads to this:
To the rock higher and bigger and greater than I
So take heart, you
And be thankful
Because he lives to make intercession for you
And he provides, he always provides
Just prepare to be surprised