Today, August 4, marks the three month “anniversary” of Growing in Grace…at any age! I’ve enjoyed returning to the writing process after a three year hiatus, and I think in many ways, it’s brought healing to me. Writing, whether in blog form, personal journal, or letters to friends, IS a valid therapy for those going through stressful situations. In these last few months I’ve read at least four articles in cancer magazines (such as Cure, and Coping, – I love those titles!) that recommend writing your “cancer story” as a therapeutic way to deal with it.
But “writing therapy” is not just for us cancer patients. I’ve read other articles that have recommended writing projects (such as blogs and journals) for everything from the grieving process to post traumatic stress disorder. There is something in the writing process that helps the mind to wrap itself around crises of all kinds.
Before I began Growing in Grace, I spent a LOT of time arguing with myself about whether or not to begin blogging (shudder…I still hate that word, blogging). I did some prayer-journaling, asking myself (and God), “Why blog?” On this three-month anniversary, I would like to share with you a snippet of that journal:
Why on earth, Lord, in the midst of all this cancer chaos, would I tie myself down again to a writing schedule? My mind no longer works clearly – they call it “cancer fog.” Whatever it is, it’s murky, and words that once flowed freely seem to get stuck in the muck of my chemically drenched brain! I sense You calling me back to the keyboard, yet can this possibly be You?
[A “word picture”comes to mind, from an old fairy tale, Rumpelstiltskin, that seems to explain the reason why I should return to writing.]
My “work” [the actual writing] will be to fashion words into meaning…straw into gold. The straw is my life, my thoughts, my dreams, my regrets, my day-to-day struggles, my everything. The Gold is what God has done in and through it all …something I don’t see at all unless I take the time to really LOOK. And the writing process makes me LOOK. It is His work in my mind, as I struggle to find the words, that shows me the connections, the metaphors, the insights, into His workings in my everyday life. (Hmm. Maybe that’s why writing is such good therapy for cancer patients and others struggling with stressful situations….) SO. Why write? First, it is just for me. Doing the work (writing) helps me to see what is hidden.
This journaling process continued, listing pros and cons, why’s and why nots. You know of course, the conclusion; but let me share just one more entry:
I can also share with others who are struggling with such things as aging and all that comes with the gray hairs. I can share with those who face health crises such as cancer. And I can address that untouchable subject, approaching death. All straw. Scratchy straw, until God turns it into Gold. And He does! That’s what I can share.
So, friends, that’s what this blog is attempting to do. This three-month anniversary has been a good time to stop and take a look at Growing in Grace…. Where is it going? How can I do a better job of cooperating with God as He turns straw into GOLD? Prayerfully, I’ve decided to make some changes.
First of all, I’ve decided to stop posting every week. Instead, from now on, I will try to post twice a month, as “life” allows. The writing process needs TIME for careful editing – it IS a craft. First drafts are seldom finished products; they are often LONG and wordy, as have been many (most!) of my posts. I want to take more time to practice my craft, so to speak. Write. Rewrite. Cut. Paste. Rewrite again. The result will be shorter, tighter posts. I am SURE you will appreciate that!
I also want to sharpen my focus. The title of the blog is Growing in Grace…at any age! Those are very important words! How do we GROW when we are shrinking? (One 80+ year old friend recently shared with me that she has shrunk 9 inches!) And what is Grace? And why is aging such a difficult, heartbreaking, humiliating process? (Hey, if I were God — ok, take a moment to laugh! — I would have had us grow stronger as we grow older. We would simply live life to the fullest until it was time to ride off into the sunset! Such a life would seem much more glorious, much more dignified!) Actually, God really does have a marvelous plan in mind for us as we age. That’s something I want to address in future blogs.
SO, dear family and friends, let me end this anniversary post with a THANK YOU. Thank you for giving me the opportunity share with you. You have helped me deal with cancer chaos and make some sense of it. And I hope I have shared a few things along the way that have helped you – entertained you, at least. Please know that you are in my prayers daily.
NOTE: this post is only 867 words long. Under 1000 words! That’s a first for Growing in Grace…at any age!