Writer’s Block & What The Newtown Tragedy Taught Me About Love

25 Jan

Claude Monet Weeping Willow

Writer’s Block

Type, type, type. Delete, delete, delete. Over and again. Rinse and Repeat. Writer’s block (or rather, idealism) has brought some long silence on this blog. I’m sorry about that silence – well, mostly.

I have a running list of everything I want to write about. These topics deserve to be written about, they need to be honored with that quiet meditation that occurs when we pour out our words, when those thoughts come spilling all out of us like a cup of milk turned over by clumsy hands onto a clean table-cloth – slowly bleeding into the crisp linen.

That’s how I want writing to feel to me, but instead …

She feels like a weeping willow billowing in the wind, back and forth, and back and forth, sad and constant. The leaves ever so gently trace up against my window calling me to come and sit under her branches. And I cannot, because the effort it takes to leave the safety of my home is too much for me.

What will happen when I really listen and when I really share? I’m scared to write out the lessons that I hear my heart speaking to me for in doing so I become responsible to them. And so the weeping willow surrenders to the wind, and I am inside keeping my hands busy and my mind occupied.

I’m too tightly coiled up to let go and write.

When you fly with your guitar it’s a good idea to loosen the strings before getting on the plane. The changes in temperature can cause the wood to flex and if the strings are wound too tight and the air is too cold, the neck can break (from the stress of the coiled strings). Lately, I feel like that guitar at a high, cold altitude, and I need to uncoil my strings.

So here goes:

Newtown Tragedy

I spent a week in utter shock over the Newtown shooting. Finally, one night (after a few days of being immersed in the media of it all) I stayed up till one in the morning sobbing with a fisted and clenched ache in my gut and the taste of rust in my bruised mouth. Peter sat and listened to me describe my anger, my shock, my horror, my anger, and then my anger again.

I described to him one teacher’s story of how she hid in the closet, and gathered all those tiny children to her and told them she loved them, because if they were all going to die so violently she wanted the last thing for those babies to remember was that they were loved. O.MY.GOD.

What a moment of desperate grief I felt when I imagined myself in her shoes, when I imagined my own child(ren) in that closet with her and … then finally I came tumbling off the edge of my anger and allowed grief to come up and out – like a fountain of sadness. After that, somehow a small token of peace came to me.

This heroic woman, facing unfathomable fear, understood the power of love. Scripture speaks of a perfect love which is so encompassing, so ravishing that it quenches every ounce of fear around it – consuming fear with a tidal wave of love.

In that moment of facing unmeasurable fear, that Newtown teacher choose unmeasurable love of even greater proportions. In a moment of suffocating fear, she knew the answer was love, love, love … and she gave that tender love to those children, to our children, and even to me.

Choose Love

I want to choose love instead of fear. I want to do this.

I know I have been choosing fear, but I want to choose love. Love is hard to give and even harder to find, and it seems like fear is so accessible and easy to live in. But this year, as I stand on the horizon of 2013, I hope I have the strength of heart choose love. To choose optimism. To choose gratitude.

To find the quiet, unwavering voice of love even in the lion’s roar of fear.

I know I need to stop what I’m doing and sit for a while under the weeping willow. I know I need to lean my head back and rest it against the strength of that tree and close my eyes and listen to the wind move slowly between her leaves.

I may need to weep, and then weep some more, but then at the end of the weeping, when the tears have washed my soul, perhaps I will see a little more clearly that in the end there is love – and it is enough.

So be it.

Quiet the heart, stop wringing the hands, stand still and see – there is love. And I will choose it. (and even write about it)

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One Response to “Writer’s Block & What The Newtown Tragedy Taught Me About Love”

  1. Des January 26, 2013 at 7:42 am #

    beautiful Joy! Enjoy your rest against the willow tree. When I read that Is. 40:31 immediately came to mind: Yet those who wait on the Lord Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. Much love!

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