Last week I got myself awfully worked up. I made a mistake, and then I cried messily, and then I wrote about it.
In between bouts of wailing in the car over my blown opportunity and the frustrating randomness of stupid mistakes and “what am I doing with my life?”, I crafted this post on the way home. And it was the only thing that made me feel better.
Though perhaps Facebook statuses are not the most advanced art form, I consider myself gifted at pulling off the pith. I was particularly proud of this status: highlight a common reaction, make fun of myself for rationalizing, make fun of myself for plunging into angst when I realize I’m rationalizing, make fun of myself for being yanked from angst by something as mundane as a parking space.
There was now a story to my emotional afternoon. I had successfully communicated it, and it entertained people. My tears were redeemed.
When I look back over the hardest things I have had to endure, I see that writing about them was the only thing that made them bearable.
Though I’m in love with emotion, even with dark, troubling emotions, it’s not until I describe these that I can rest with them. Sometimes this resolution is because the words have made the emotions concrete, or because the emotions are made part of a narrative. On my best days, in my best writing, it is because they are made beautiful.
This is what the words do: tie together afternoons of ups and downs, fit growth and discovery into narratives of every day, change pain into beauty, mediate God’s voice, make tears worthwhile.
When I drag a smooth pen over white paper and fill the pad with scribbles, the brightness explodes and illuminates darkness. I learn, and I change. I take hurts and use them for my own purposes.
This is what the words do.