A Lost Art

I’m afraid I cannot write, that any skill or talent I once had is gone. The creative well I once drew from seems to have all but dried up. Thoughts of dirty laundry and dishes, meal planning, and a litany of house projects that await reckoning have crept in and dominated an already cluttered space.

When I put my mind to writing, I used to be able to see what I wanted to evoke. Wrestling through how to portray my thoughts was common, but I at least knew where I was going, what I wanted to say. Now I’m not so certain anymore. I can’t see things as clearly. They are bleary and half formed and I don’t know how to finish them. It’s like trying to draw a landscape from some half remembered mountain trail. The billowing dells and lofty peaks return with ease, but the colors aren’t quite right anymore. They are off, a little muted, a little gray, overcast by newer memories. Gravel sent skittering in the wake of footsteps and the flight of birds from leafy branches have dwindled to a blur in the corner of a frame. The joy of the trek remains, but where it began lies just beyond recollection. What I am left with is a fond shadow at best.

My need to write once flowed from a darkness I harbored. With words I could cope with what I feared would consume me. Page by page I wrote prayers I dared not voice and words I could barely stand to think. Paper became a sacred space where I could meet with God, where I could let go and wait. In the waiting, I learned to see the distinct in the familiar and the glory in the mundane, where rain carried hope and shadows cast grace. It was then I could hold my pen a little less tightly and leave the notebooks closed a little longer. My words did not need to be captive to be safe.

Now, more than anything, I miss the intimacy that art afforded and the reminders it assured when fiery memories dimmed to embers. So perhaps it doesn’t really matter whether I am good with words or not. If they are my mementos of God’s faithfulness, then refined, muddled, or broken, I will gather them again. My need now is not to escape or cope, but to remember where I have been and how God was there too, to remember how to just be and breathe in the silence with pen in hand. Ready and waiting.