Processing life

live

My heels clicked against the hardwood floor, the only sound in the hushed church. I climbed the three steps onto the alter and positioned myself behind the podium, the microphone on, waiting to expand my soft, low voice.

The words black against the bright screen of my Ipad, I began. Began a speech I never thought I’d be delivering.

It wasn’t in my daily planner, to be delivering the eulogy at my father’s funeral mass last week. That Wednesday.

Life changed in a blink of an eye.

The call came on just the previous Friday, from my eldest sister, provinces away.

And by Saturday morning he had passed at 88 years old. A day later, a four hour flight east with my middle sister takes us there, to where he lives, lived, to gather as a family of five children, spouses, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren.

Honoring a life.

“Boy, did he ever worry about you,” a long-time friend of my dad tells me at the visitation.

I smile. Nod. I know.

I know the dream he had for me.

And what would have made my dad be less fretful, worrisome over me.

And he didn’t get to see it come true.

And that for me is one of the saddest parts of being in the living, while a loved one has passed on. I know what he wanted for me, yet I wasn’t able to give it to him before he passed on. 

I think that is the turmoil I feel right now. But not sure. 

As one who tends to internalize my emotions, I can seem cool and calm on the outside, carefully choosing my words I speak. Or just not speaking at all. I will hide behind a computer screen, a book, or go for long walks, alone.

Processing.

Guarded.

Needing to stay in control.

Writers, a writer declared in a podcast I recently listened to, are ‘tortured souls.’ And it is through writing that writers process life.

And I think I agree. As it seems when I write, is when I am most vulnerable. And clear.

There a times I really want to give up writing wondering ‘what is the point?’ A question I pondered even more deeply since the death of my dad. Maybe if I hadn’t been writing, I’d have been able to open my life to have what he wanted for me?

Then again, maybe it is an acceptance instead, that writing is the way I process life.

And to be okay with that, instead of fighting it, wanting to be different.

Both my sisters eyes were wet with tears when I sat down after delivering the eulogy. My sister ‘n law patted my knee and whispered ‘good job.’ My stomach was clenched, my eyes were dry.

I know I may not be shedding tears today, guarded, as still seeing life through my scars. But I also know of our great Healer, the One whose hands and feet were pierced and scarred, and died to give us life.

“No writing is a waste of time – no creative work where the feelings, the imagination, the intelligence must work. With every sentence you write, you have learned something. It has done you good.” Brenda Ueland

Do you see writing as a way to process life? Or do you have another reason why you like to write?

Linking up today with #onewordcoffee@faithbarista.com

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34 thoughts on “Processing life

  1. Thank you Lynn, I like to write my prayers and feelings out. It helps me to slow down, so I am better able to hear from God. (-: Ker

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  2. It’s wonderful when God gives insight to some issue we’re dealing with as we are in the midst of writing about it. I do think that our best writing comes when we’re covering a topic that we are still unsettled on.

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    1. So well put Michelle! Our best writing comes from our unsettled selves which can also allows others to feel safe sharing their struggles and bringing them to the light to be healed. Hope you have a wonderful Easter!

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  3. Lynn, first, I’m so sorry about your father. It seems, even if we’re not close with the generation before us, there’s something unsettling when they pass on and we’re the “older” generation. I’m praying for you today.

    About writing, I’ve processed a lot of life in my journals. Working through emotions, praying thorugh the written word, waiting for God to speak in the midst of my turmoil. I’m so thankful God gave us this way to work through the things we can put to words verbally.

    Thank you for sharing this post.

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    1. Thank you Jeanne. Yes, thankful God gives us ways to process! Journaling can be magical, I find, suddenly solutions showing up as we pour our words out on paper and to God. Have a wonderful Easter!

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  4. I’m so sorry for your loss. Losing a parent changes us. We weigh a lot of what ifs. What you said about writing has helped me today. In a few days, I’m sending in my next novel to my agent. If she rejects this one, I’ve thought about giving up. I’m torn. Couldn’t see a purpose to continue if it’s no good.
    So thank you for encouraging words. Again, I’m sorry but I bet you turned out the way God wanted you to. 🙂

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    1. That feeling of giving up is a battle isn’t it? Thankfully we have sisters who encourage us, and God brings others to us who have walked a similar path to inspire us to keep on! Praying for you.

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  5. I’m so sorry about your dad, Lynn. May God give you special strength and peace! I hope you never give up writing. I am blessed to have met you. It can be so hard not to see life through our scars, isn’t it? I love this – “But I also know of our great Healer, the One whose hands and feet were pierced and scarred, and died to give us life.” Such hope in this. May you have a hope-filled Easter! Hugs!

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  6. Lynn,
    You must keep on writing, friend! For yourself and for us here, who welcome your words! My sympathies on losing your dad and I pray as you grieve that God will surround you with his love. Whatever else you do, sharing your words with us through this online space shares your heart with us and in that, I think your dad would be proud as you bravely (as this act of writing is!) put your heart and words out there to encourage, stand with, and cheer on your fellow writers and sisters. Keep writing, friend!

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  7. Give yourself freedom to walk this path of grief, Lynn. We don’t forget or get over such losses. Rather, I think we build the emotional and spiritual strength to absorb them and carry them. Loss changes us. When we choose change, we call that good. When change chooses us, we sometimes panic. Rest in the author and finisher of our story as he writers his story on your heart. And when you need to, write about what he’s writing. That will honour both our Lord and your father’s memory. Praying, my friend.

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  8. Lynn, I’m sorry to hear of your loss. I don’t think we ever outgrow the need for our parents.
    Your words are beautiful and in them I can feel the love of vet you had for your father.
    I have discovered in the past few years that I process life through writing. Some of the writings can be shared while others are a form of personal therapy for me.
    Bless you as you walk closely with God during this season of loss.

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  9. Oh, processing. Someone with ADD and Dyslexia, I process very slowly. When God impressed upon me to write about hope, I didn’t understand at all. I was not a writer at all! But I have come to realize it is in writing that I do most of my processing. And yes it is hard work for me, but there is such a sense of peace and fulfillment when my thoughts fall in some succinct order on the screen. So many times I say I have nothing to say. I am so dependent upon God in this and I am finding that is the best place to be. Thank you for your encouraging words and your heart. God gave me the privilege of writing a poem years ago that I read at my father’s funeral and later I sang at my mother’s. Something I never had planned to do. The processing of thoughts takes up much time for me, but the Lord is making it prosper my soul. Visiting from OneWordCoffee. Blessings to you.

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  10. I replied once before but it didn’t get posted.
    Your words are precious. Healing comes through a process and writing, also for me, helps me process through the thoughts, feelings and beliefs I can’t express orally. ADD and Dyslexia result in poor processing skills. God impressed upon me to write about hope and as I didn’t understand it at the time, (I was not a writer), now I am beginning to see His hand in all of it. I wrote a poem at my dad’s funeral and sang at my mom’s many years ago. These both helped me find healing and comfort in my loss. Blessings to you. Visiting from OneWordCoffee.

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  11. Oh Lynn, I am so sorry for your loss. I will be praying for you and your family. You are right, God is the healer of all things, and for us creative types, writing can help. Sometimes it just helps sort things out, and I find it very therapeutic. Sending hugs your way.

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  12. Oh my…please accept my condolences on the passing of your father. Sigh… It truly is a passing of the torch to the next generation, a bit of your history slipping from the earth. I admire your strength to be able to speak at your fathers funeral mass. That had to have been very hard.
    I came to writing as a second wind, a new life. I guess there are parts of me that are reserved, places that writing can express. But I think you understand it better than I do. I’m just glad that you can find a place that will help you process your feelings, and allow grief to come. Everyone is different Lynn. As you said, your tears may come later. This year marked the fifth since my own mom died, and I cried harder than I have in the last five.
    May God send His tender grace to your heart, and may your dad live on in you. He knows now what a wonderful person you are, and how your choices got you to your place of grace.
    Ceil

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    1. Thank you Ceil. I’m glad the winds of writing came to you, even it is was a second wind. It does get to our reserved parts doesn’t it? May you continue to ride the wind that God has blowing on you. I am always blessed by your words.

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  13. For me writing is a spiritual practice, a way back to God, a song, a prayer. Your words are so touching, I can’t imagine you not writing. It seems so much a part of your soul, you write from a soulful place. I wouldn’t have had a chance to hear about your dad, your feelings, all of which matter to all of us who will one day lose our dads, question ourselves..we write to live fully. Blessings to you and may you be comforted in your loss.

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    1. Thank you for your encouraging words. Yes, writing does allow us to experience life more fully, and connecting with other writers. I’m glad you are part of my community. Blessings back to you!

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  14. No writing is a waste of time…I so agree. When I look back at the journal from when I first got saved they make me cry. After one has been saved for a while you kind of forget what a sinner you were before salvation.

    I leave in the morning to visit my mother in Illinois, she is declining fast so I wanted to see again before she can still remember me. I have been grieving for a while her condition in the nursing home waiting for the Father to take her home, she wants to go, she wants out of her dress of flesh that cannot take care of herself anymore. Now her mind has went with the dementia. I can understand how hard it is to get back to writing after the death of your Dad. My mother is still here but my mind can become consumed with her in the nursing home. Guilt tries to rob me of the joy that she is saved and will join her mOm and Dad in heaven. Blessings.

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  15. So sorry for the loss of your dad, praying your good memories will serve as a comfort in the days to come. As for our need for control and stoic demeanor, there was such relief the day my dam finally burst and I cried rivers of tears for that day and all the times in the past when I didn’t. Also praying you can release that grief in your own way.
    Blessings!

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  16. Oh, what a hard journey for you to take, Lynn, and I’m sure Jesus is very proud of you for not shirking it. May the grace of Jesus comfort you and heal your heart.
    I love to write for a thousand reasons. Mostly i just can’t NOT write. I think I was born with ink in my veins. Thanks for asking!

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  17. Praying for your father, for you and your whole family at this very difficult time. May he rest in peace.

    I am sure he is very proud of you Lynn; what you are and what you have achieved. Whether it is as he had wished or not, he is still very proud of you.

    There are many reasons why people write. However, as far as Christian writing is concerned, our only and main reason is, and should be, to pass on the Good News about our Lord onto others. We never know who might visit our blogs without commenting, who might pick up our books and read all or part of them. To many people, our words may well be the first time they get to hear about Christ. That’s why we write.

    God bless you.

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    1. Thank you Victor. Your comment was very timely as I woke up wondering if I should change a direction in my writing, and God confirmed to stay on this same path of writing. Receiving your words was part of the confirmation, I believe. Have a blessed day!

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