Updated: Oct 18, 2019
It’s 4:30 in the morning, I woke up from a dead sleep and could not get back. My brain began listing the endless ways I could “fix my life” and because it would not quiet, I pulled my body upright to sit at the kitchen table with some caffeine and a pen. The best thing I can do right now is write. Not because I’m good at it, not because there will be some giant shiny answer, but because that is how I get through.
“But what do you write?” people ask.
“Words on a page.” I reply. Problems and complaints mostly.
That’s what I write, for now.
I come to the page every day with what amounts to the same problems and complaints. Always about myself and the endless ways I could be better. A better mother, friend, daughter, person. I come to the page, hoping to find relief from a war I wage against myself for reasons I do not understand.
Yet here’s the thing. I get up every day and do the best I can with all the resources I have. I keep getting up even when things feel as though they are stacked against me. I get up over and over again and yet I am frustrated much of the time.
Why? Is this my fault? How do I change it? How do I be the “better” I am always demanding of myself?
There is no answer, this is just what it means to be human for me right now.
I have never found permanent salvation. Ask me how many times I committed myself to Jesus in my early twenties. Though I invited him to live in my heart, I’ve never felt completely “saved.” I blame my brain. Left to its own devices my brain is a mess of thoughts, insights, accusations, and judgements which amount to nothing more than toxic sludge. It’s painful and makes it hard to be myself, unless I write. Without the act of writing, my brain clogs up, rages, and pushes me to the brink.
I find myself standing at the brink every morning because of the demands of motherhood.
I need at least a football’s field amount of space between myself and the brink.
I write to save myself. Every word I put down is equivalent to a step back towards solid ground. I find a sense of salvation where the pen meets the paper. I don’t necessarily write anything worthy or interesting. (In fact, upon my death my mountains of notebooks are to be thoroughly and indiscriminately destroyed).
What I write is mostly messy BS but once it’s out of me, it’s BS that no longer clogs. The act is akin to turning on a hose that effectively drains my brain. Moving water is cleaner water and my brain after writing is a cleaner brain. I’m a kinder, more centered, and more stable human when I write regularly. I like that though my sentences need not be great, the effect of the act of writing on my daily life is profound. I know where to get my (mostly) daily dose of salvation now and that’s good enough for me.
Tell me, what saves you?