This is a long post. I hope you’ll stick with me, even if my writing is kind of all over the place. It comes back full circle.
I struggle with finding Joy in my life. Lately, it has become an even bigger challenge. Ocassionally, I will encounter Joy in a fleeting moment, and then she’s gone, leaving me to feel like I will never find her again.
Today I read one of my favorite bloggers, Glennon Melton from Momastery. Much of what she writes is positive, and uplifting, and difficult and challenging. It’s what she calls, Brutiful. (Brutal and beautiful.) Today she wrote how we often forget what brings us Joy. She said that we need to be still to listen and remember what brings us Joy. One way to do that is to think back to when we were 12 and remember what made us joyful.
I totally get this idea. I have been blogging consisitently for 22 days. I am remembering what brings me Joy. I keep forgetting. Well, maybe I don’t forget, as much as I don’t make important the practice of encountering Joy.
What follows is a blog post I wrote over a year ago. At the time I wrote it Joy was not even a visitor to my life. I remember feeling so uplifted that day, after writing this post . Then, I got sidetracked with my life, and I didn’t finish writing it. I forgot about the Joy I found. Today, after reading Glennon’s post, it reminded me that I had the same thought a year ago. I remembered what brought me Joy when I was 12. It still brings me Joy at 50. . . .
I started writing when I was just a girl. I used to write and (badly) illustrate children’s stories. I won a poetry writing contest in 5th grade. I was inspired to write more, and throughout my grade school days I continued writing. I wrote poetry, short stories and essays, plays. I wrote whenever I felt inspired and I didn’t think too much about grammar, punctuation, syntax or even spelling. By the time I graduated 8th grade I established that I was a writer, and I won another writing award. Then I entered high school—a bigger pond with a lot more fish.
There were a lot of kids who liked to write. All of a sudden I realized there was a lot more to learn about the craft of writing and my confidence waned. Being the competitive self that I am I started to compare my writing to others’ around me. When my poetry didn’t make it into the high school’s poetry journal and I started getting B’s in English, I began to doubt myself.
Once, in a high school literature course, I wrote an inspired essay about Shakespeare’s Midsummer Nights Dream. The words just flowed out of me. When I was done writing, I knew it was a well-written essay. I eagerly awaited the teacher’s comments. The teacher agreed it was a well-written essay. In fact, it was so well-written that he questioned me about its authenticity. Did I even write it? Perhaps I was “inspired” from another source? Ouch.
I put away my notebooks and decided to turn my attention to other interests. No more writing for me, but then, it would call to me. During those moments in my life of sadness, confusion or Joy, I would be inspired to write it all down. In an assortment of notebooks I jotted poetry, prose, whatever came to me. One day, and I don’t know when or why, I stashed it all away so that I couldn’t even remember where to find it.
About three years ago, I became a blogger, and in that way I became a writer. I write. It’s not always good, it’s not always inspired, but I do it because I enJOY it. Sometimes I remember the sting of my high school teacher’s comment. I wonder, is my writing any good? Is anyone out there reading? I write mainly for myself, but it’s so affirming when I get a comment or a word of encouragement. Recently, I received this comment from a reader named Jill.
” Hi, I happened upon your page because i was google-ing for an image of things tapped to the inside of kitchen cabinets for my https://www.facebook.com/sTuCkInThEtees?ref=stream
facebook page (memories of the 70s 80s 90s)
As I was raised by my grandparents after both my parents passed away when i was 7 yrs old, and my grandmother had Dear Abby clippings, tv guide covers, recipes etc. tapped inside our cabinets…..
I could NOT leave your LWB page without saying that I was moved to tears! I don’t know you, your grandmother, your family or friends….However i feel blessed and honored that by this story! Your story and memories have given me some “healing” from my youth….”
I wrote the post she’s referring to in an inspired moment. I started writing it in the car, as we left my grandmother’s house. Somehow, in the random world of Google Searches this reader found me, and found my grandmother’s story. Jill’s words let me know that, somehow, my words have given her some healing for her own loss. Her comment comforted me and motivated me.
It’s comforting to know that my own Grandmother’s life is touching others even after her death, and its due in part to my writing about her. So I will continue to blog. I will continue to write.
And with that, I will continue to find Joy.
What brings you Joy? What brought you Joy when you were 12?