I’ve read and reread Stacey’s slice for this week- the hardness of her story, the honesty of her words, the trust she showed in offering it to her writing community. I find myself thinking back to her late summer writing-the sharing that she received news that changed everything, the revelation that she had to undergo a medical procedure, the hints that she was sad. Stacey’s post is brave. Her story is not yet a happy one. Her writing reminds me that sometimes we write the hard stuff as we work through heartbreak and fear, disbelief and disappointment. Sometimes we write bravely, venturing down darker paths. Sometimes that writing is part of the healing. Stacey’s writing reminded me of what Lucy Calkins said about how we write to make sense of our stories.
Often though, I take a safer route. Often I write about the good, the celebrations in my life. I focus on that for which I am grateful. The blessings and the happy times. Friends and family. Sunshine and laughter. And when I press “publish,” I often feel just a small twinge. It’s all true, but there is more. More about how hard I have worked these last several years to notice and celebrate the good. About how far I have come from the nights when I would get dinner on the table for my children and then slink up the stairs, walk into my dark closet, close the door, collapse on the floor and sob. More about being unable to eat or sleep or imagine breaking the news to the girls that our family was going to look different from now on. More about learning to be on my own, about working through guilt, more about forgiveness.
I’m not alone, I know that. I’m not the first to go through a divorce. I can look you in the eye and tell you that it needed to happen, that we are all better off. And yet I grieve. Yes, there is a whole lot of good. Faith. Family. Friends. Good health. Travel. An amazing school in which to teach. Colleagues I admire. New beginnings. Learning. Living.
But that dark path- I take a few steps when I write, and then I retreat, back to the light. Thank you Stacey for reminding me that brave writing about hard stuff is part of the healing. That writing the story can help to make sense of it.