I had a conversation with my friend Natalie this morning…. Nat, as I lovingly refer to her, is one of “those” friends… you know the kind.. the kind that when you first meet them.. you feel as if your heart has always known them.. they fill a place in your heart and in your life that it seems that only they could fill…..
I hope you know that feeling… I hope you have those friends. It doesn’t matter how often we see each other… how often we talk…. when we do, it is as if, we just never left.
I cannot image life without her in it. I call her my “low maintenance friend” this group of women that fall in this category are my forever friends… they, like me are out their slaying the dragons… and when we come back together we laugh, cry, mend each other up.. and go back out to slay more….. blaze more trails…. lay it all out all over again…
During our talk, I shared with her what I have discovered about my writing, and I thought, I would share it here too. Get it done to fully acknowledge it.
My writing has always been my rescue. Always. As a young girl, with the help of a neighborhood cowboy and his beautiful wife, I had a horse to talk to. Somewhere in their wisdom, they knew that I was a little girl who needed a confidante. Yet, even with this safe place, my words took a long time to find their way to paper… they were stuck in my head.. eased out every now and again through my tears when I was in the company of this horse…Later, when life changed and the horse was no longer available to me, I had to find a way to get the words out and I found pen and paper, at about the age of eight.
For years, as I was struggling with those things that were too much for me to deal with.. stuff that life had thrown at me, surrounded by an environment that seemed to me be more interested in insuring that everything looked good…. and I was more broken than my environment could or was equipped to handle. God knew that, and gave me the pen.
Now in my 50’s I had gotten to a place where I thought that my writing had moved into a new phases.. that now, my writing was a tool fully to help others. A tool in which I could lay myself open, and trust that God would use it to spur on the life of others.
But, after 60,000 words meant to be a book…. I discovered this…. those words, that I had so carefully selected turned out to be God’s gift back to me. As I read and re-read them, my story, placed in a western genre, I could see the million times that God carried me, I could see my own strengths, be clearer on my own weaknesses and failings. I could for the first time be honest about how people showed up and didn’t show up in my life and be okay with that. I mean, finally be REALLY o.k with it..
Here is why.. In the long run, it doesn’t matter. I can easily get stuck in the old conversation about who loves me, who should have shown love and chose not to….. But the truth is, if we are willing to look around us, there is love. I learned through the writing processes, how deeply I am bathed in it. Sure, it doesn’t always come from the places we hoped it might, but it is there, if we are available to it.
When I became… and the more I become clear on the truths of my life… the more available I am to be present in the lives of others. The more of me I have to give away, and to even let love.. in whatever forms that it comes, in.
As writers, we write. It is like breathing, we must, if we want to live. God sent me Nat and our friend Deb to me at a critical time in my life. We have a sisterhood that is so sweet and unique….. All three of us write about what we know.. what we love, what we survived and how we have been called to do.. Thrive. To live life abundantly. Which looks so differently for each of us. Deb – is a brilliant technical writer, editor, and mentor. Natalie – has the amazing gift of healing and uses her words as she lays herself, her own pain OUT in a way that very few can do. I write about life’s breathes. Moments that take my breath away. People I meet down the dusty roads of life who are living life of abundance, even in the midst of being poor in the eyes of our society. I love the constant validation that when we partner with the creator of the universe… what we can do has no measure.
I use to think that happiness was a destination. I wondered why I could never fully arrive… but the truth is.. Happiness is NOT a destination, it is the journey.. We are meant to feel tinges of dissatisfaction.. or what would prompt us to move forward?
I have learned that I cannot out dream GOD. I am not saying that I found a great slog-gen and adopted it.. I am saying.. I LEARNED it… it is at more core.
I learned it through my writing. At one of my lowest points in the last few years I sat down at my computer to write…. compelled to do so by a desire that I could not ignore. I look back on that day and know that God knew….. he also knew, that I knew.. deep down.. who I was… but, I for whatever reason, wasn’t owning it…. living it.. I was on a road running parallel to my dreams, begging God to show me how to get on the right road.. when it was me that was choosing to stay on the wrong road out of fear, insecurities, judgement.. I don’t know.. a million other foolish things that keep us stuck.
It literally took me sitting down at my computer and writing these words… my book bio: “I am a cowgirl Interrupted” There it was. I owned it. All the sudden that road that I wanted to be on.. I found the cross-road. Hello Rene’ – meet Rene’
The biggest lesson that I have learned through this experience the sooner we connect with who we are, the more we can connect with and accept who others are. Good. Bad. Indifferent. and Be o.k with it.
My writing has been one of God’s biggest gifts to myself. Can you even take that in? He used it, to introduce me to me, and in turn set me on a path that freed me and others in my life.
Each of us have a gift that God gives us to help us cope…. then we give it back to him.. and then he gives it back to us… such an amazing dance, even words escape me to describe it. Perhaps your gift is running, or painting, singing, dancing, playing an instrument….. It was meant to be used by you and for you.
As I look back over this year.. I lose my breath. Tears well up in my eyes and heart could absolutely burst. Not necessarily because it is a big life, but because I am living it “present.” A disclaimer here, I haven’t arrived.. Remember, It is a journey. I still battle with a couple BIGGIES… but, those biggies aren’t as heavy as when they were packed with a million other things that are now gone… and if I were honest, with the AHA moment I had yesterday, one of the BIGGIES is about to disappear too.
The trick is this. If you are driving your life in a RUT…. find a crossroad. I Promise you, if your dreams don’t scare you, you aren’t dreaming big enough…… Because my dreams do scare me, and even with them, I know they don’t begin to even touch what God dreams for me.