In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself. 2 He was [continually existing] in the beginning [co-eternally] with God. 3 All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him not even one thing was made that has come into being. 4 In Him was life [and the power to bestow life], and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines on in the darkness, and the darkness did not understand it or overpower it or appropriate it or absorb it [and is unreceptive to it]. John 1:1
This year I have found a new sacred place in a little café off the beaten track. On my first visit, the girl at the counter commented that “it is unusual, at this hour, for people to have their coffee here.”
“I’m unusual,” I smiled.
As the sun rises, and people grab their coffee to go, I sit.
After nine years, the habit is the same. Three pages, stream of conscience. A Bible verse, a poem, a gratitude, a thought, a cry for help. Any combination of these words gather on the page which I’ve prepared with the date, time and place. They flow from my pen in obedience to my taking the time to sit. They help me make sense of the past, the present and the future. I have no idea what I am doing.
I am like the children at the beginning of the year when I tell them we are going to write in our books. The children, with terrified faces, tell me, “I don’t know how to write.”
I tell them that they do. That it will become easy over time.
I like Marie Howe’s words. In her poem, The Meadow, I see a metaphor for my mornings.
As we walk into words that have waited for us to enter them, so
the meadow, muddy with dreams, is gathering itself together
and trying, with difficulty, to remember how to make wildflowers.
Every day I need to remember how to do this life. I need to find the Word who was there from the beginning. He is waiting for me to walk in, though I am muddy with dreams.
Like the children, I start my mornings writing everything I know or want to know. It doesn’t take long. Sometimes today’s questions are the same as yesterday’s, last week’s, last year’s. I am learning to live within the question.
“Try to love the questions themselves like locked books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not seek the answers which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” Rainer Rilke
Words have the power to save us and somehow in the process of writing, healing comes.
It is important work. If the children learn to write well, they will have success. I want to encourage them in this. “Wow,” I say, looking at their convoluted letters. “Wow, look at all that writing!” I try to be kind when I squat down low by their side, suggesting that finger spaces would help me so much. “Oops, I forgot!” they reply.
“Tell me about this part?” I ask.
They stare at what they have written. They pause. They no longer know.
So, I search for the patterns and clues. I look for the things that I know early writers do. Slowly the message emerges and I ask them about what I see.
“Oh yes! I remember now.” The little face lights up and together we decode what exactly it was she did over the weekend and what she intended to say.
“Hooray! You are a writer!” She beams with pride and I am moved to tears. It is a simple miracle; the learning that letters, make sounds and when combined together they can make words which communicate stories. I care about this student and her story. How much more must my Teacher want me to grapple with the questions? How much more does He care about my story?
Today I have no answers and yet;
“We do not need to live as if all we are and have now is all we will ever be. The present does not need to have the last word. Life always has new possibilities.” Charles Ringma