I sat down after work to write today, and just as I had my decaf cup of coffee in front of me and my laptop open to a blank document, the blinking cursor challenging me to make a move… my husband walked into the kitchen, having just arrived home from work. I had a choice to make: A – take the time to engage in conversation and connect with my husband, or B – take advantage of my current mental state (I was in “the zone”) and start writing.
I had been anticipating my dive back into writing, as it’s been nearly 15 years since I wrote anything beyond the confines of my personal journal. I have been telling myself for a few years now that I just want to write. No, I need to write. I need to put my heart into words and then put those words on paper. And then? *Gulp* Have the courage to put it out into the world.
But why would I do that? Why in the world would I risk putting myself out there and letting people see the real me and all the imperfections? Letting people see our faults and cracks can only bring pain, right?
To me the reason I need to write is simple: I wholeheartedly believe that we can learn from the stories and ideas of others. Life has taught me some things (and believe me when I say I’m confident there’s an insane amount left to learn in my remaining days on this planet).
So… what if the things that happened to me, experiences big and small, can reach the heart of another person? What if what I write can help just one person in the midst of their situation? What if those words could give someone a sliver of hope that feels like warm sunshine or a hot cup of coffee on a dark, dreary day? What if they… what if YOU get a small gift of laughter or camaraderie or joy or authenticity, because I made the choice to be brave and share my thoughts? And the biggest question rolling around in my brain was this: what if as a result of sharing my story, you feel empowered to share yours? Thinking about all those questions, I don’t know how it has taken me this long to begin.
I read a quote earlier today by an author named Maria Goff in her book Love Lives Here, who wrote, “Do what makes you the most loving, hopeful version of yourself.” I wanted to dive deeper into what she may have meant, so I researched some synonyms for the words “loving” and “hopeful.” (Are you ready for this list? Because it’s about to get real.) Words listed under “loving” were the following: affectionate, amiable, attentive, benevolent, cordial, faithful, generous, and loyal. Words listed under “hopeful” were buoyant, cheerful, comfortable, confident, eager, enthusiastic, rosy, and sanguine.
Buckle up, folks, because I am about to make my point. One of the things that is most loving and hopeful for me to do, is to write. It fills me up with all that stuff: affection, attention, sharing good things, and a crave for honesty. Writing makes me feel the buoyancy of hope because I don’t feel alone in life anymore. I feel eager to get my thoughts out on paper and confident and comfortable every time I write, whether it turns out well or not… I just get excited! Maybe most importantly, it creates a space for me to connect with people via my stories and ideas, and then for others to respond with their own. Connection is a beautifully needed thing in our world.
To me, being loving and hopeful means being attentive and generous to others. It means recognizing that life is hard, but never succumbing to the call of despair. It means taking care of myself so that a healthy me can help take care of others. It means being comfortable and confident with the fact that I may not know the solution of every problem in my life or in the world, but that I am not alone, and humanity can work together for the greater good. It means I love the best way I can while holding onto hope as I go through my life. It’s beautiful.
As humans, we all have the need to connect with others and feel a sense of true belonging. I want all the words I put out into the world to find people, meet them in life’s stuff, and hold their hand through it in some way. I want their words to come back to me and teach me something as well. I want us to find each other and to help each other in whatever ways we can, because life can be heavy and difficult, even tragic and overwhelming… but I believe it can be made a little better and maybe a bit lighter when we are connected to others.
That need to connect and belong is exactly why earlier today I chose to shut the laptop, sip my coffee, and talk to my husband. I chose to focus on the connection right in front of me with my favorite person, and enjoy the authenticity and depth of our relationship, and I am so glad I did. I chose to show love to him while holding on to hope, which is what I want to do every day for the rest of my life!
I shy away from making any grand promises here, but I can make you one small one: I will show up and I will try to offer love and hope always. Whether in the form of stories, poems, essays, recipes, favorite quotes, or pictures… I am here to share my heart and to learn from others.
I want to leave you with this quote from Bishop Michael Curry, found in his amazing book entitled Love is the Way. He writes, “When we are at peace with ourselves, our true voice becomes clear and resonant, among the swift and varied changes of the world. We hear the words of our own needs and desires and can articulate them confidently to others.”
So, try each day to keep to becoming the most loving, hopeful version of yourself. And while you’re doing that, don’t forget to be at peace with the beautiful person you are right in this very moment. Recognize that you are a work in progress like every single one of us. Your voice and your heart, the very way you live your life, can be a positive impact on those around you in ways you may never see. Love and hope to all of you today.
Until next time,