After her giddy, exhausted 40-week picture, her posts dropped off. I thought maybe she'd had a newborn phase like mine: brain-dead, zombie-like, and blissfully detached. But I'm a freak who has to know everything about anything that interests me, so I Googled her. And oh, my heart. Her cravings. Her long pregnancy. Her first delivery.
Her stillborn daughter.
And of course, her empty blog.
I couldn't understand her experience. We never fully know someone else's pain.
But I did understand why she'd stopped:
Nothing smothers creativity like grief.
I know that because I've been through suffocating grief. I've been surprised by false friends, so I've learned to be more discerning. But I secretly fear it's made me cynical, and I know I'm hard to reach. I used to say I'm an introvert and not a snob, but now I'm starting to wonder. But that's not really the point.
The point is I've been afraid of this, afraid of writing because it slices me open and I can't seem to stop the bleeding. And it makes me admit, finally, that my life is not an inspirational novel. I don't always get it right, and half the time I don't know what in the world I'm doing.
(How's that for an inspirational Lent thought?)
But then it's not all bad. Trust me; that's the voice of experience talking.
Some people think faith or leadership or parenthood means we have to have it all together. So we retouch our lives and hope no one sees we're skin and bone like regular folks. This, we think, is the image of God transforming our lives into walking sermons.
But the truth is this: The perfect Christian is a sight to behold, but impossible to reach. And what is relationship without touch? (Immanuel teaches this simple lesson.)
And I wonder how Scripture would read if God edited our heroes the way we edit ourselves.
David without Bathsheba, or Solomon, or Absalom.
Moses, never a shepherd.
Jonah, marching straight to Ninevah, Esther without self-doubt.
Not to mention Paul and Peter and Abraham and Joseph. Their stories, unretouched, aren't that tidy. They don't meet our standards for neatness. How strange that they seem to meet God's.
And it makes me wonder: If our lives read like inspirational novels, is it because we've erased the rest of our story?
I do hope not; turns out it's all important.
Writing with Sharpie,