Copy

It isn't in the shallow end where we learn what it feels like to be rescued. 
Your Writers Group
Monday Motivations


Feeling Your Way
 
   

Does anyone forget the fear of drowning?
 
It must be ‘82 or ’83. My mom is Farrah Fawcett and my dad is wearing those terrible racing-striped swim trunks. Our family—me, my younger brother and mom and dad are at a Sunday barbeque with the church Bible study group at the McCabe’s. We’d been to Scott-and-Jenelle’s many times to play, swim in their awesome in-ground-pool-with-diving-board and generally stay out of our moms’ hair for a few hours. The kids are playing Marco Polo while the adults mingle nearby at the patio. 
David Hockney pool
I’m escaping detection wading deeper into the middle of the pool. 
 
The next moment, my feet aren’t touching bottom. I've barely noticed before my mom sees my arm splash, my chin pointed skyward, and yells my dad’s name. Like a cobra, my dad springs from the pool's edge, abandoning his plate of baked beans and dives in. Clothes and all. 
 
Mr. Super-Dad.
 
Did I even need rescuing? I don't think so. I appreciated the dramatic proof of his love, but drawing everyone’s attention to my fear and helplessness? Not to mention completely validating my mom’s compulsive overprotection? 
 
E.E. Cummings said art is about expressing feeling. And that it wasn't easy.

In my house growing up, g
rumbling was a punishable crime. So I stuffed it, seething in secret.

I had much anger for many years. Forcing down my feelings for church and Sunday school teachers who expected the pastor’s eldest to wear the biggest happy-clappy-Jesus-smiley face.

 
No, the joy joy joy joy was not down in my heart. Had I been allowed to watch the shows my friends did, I might have told you where you could shove it. 

It was probably best I wasn’t allowed to express how I felt. 
 
What do you feel in your current life? Can you connect it to an experience in the past? Then how can you expand it with the future hope of faith? This is a pattern. But you must make it yours.

What we think we know, the assumptions and associations, our prejudices, they all hold us back from feeling the truth.

We start writing because God gave us something to share. It drives us and it isn't easy. But if we think we've passed the hard part, gotten over our blocks, finally changed, we quickly recall that redemption’s a daily thing, and on the other side of the rainbow there’s always another wall.

If I’m honest, that feels like a betrayal. 

I won’t go back to self-pity but I still want to make God explain himself. Where’s the pot of gold I was expecting? Did he lead me here to watch me suffer? He’s shown me new places and I’m grateful, but is this it? 

Each time, it feels worse than ever. 

 And each time, that's where he decides to meet me. wading pool

 Do you really want this? he says. You’re only mine when you continue to stop and turn to face me, and you’re still trying to save yourself. Just be here. Wait. Don’t go any deeper without me.

 But most of the time I have too much to do. This work, following fear and expressing it as yourself, is hard. Cummings was right.  

If writing is difficult, it’s because your feelings were inappropriate/messy/embarrassing/ugly/painful. If growing up they were threatening—to others or yourself—you have much fuel for excellent art. In the deep end you’ll find why you were given this life, this desire, this work. So wade out, outside the comfortable circle of others’ important work.

You must experience firsthand the feelings at the core of your story. 

I’d had so many lessons. I was a good swimmer and I could prove it. But I still needed him to save me that day. I had to be shown this—in a way I couldn’t claim as anything I did—that I felt afraid and being saved from that may or may not have been necessary.

But it's part of my story.

And that matters. 
 
I'm done being afraid to feel my way through my story. God's provided vision and inspiration, and if we'll trust him, he'll help us use it to share our stories to help others. There's mind-blowing wonder in that.

Stop and feel your way through what you still fear this week. His love will never let you drown.
 

Mick

p.s. If you know someone wading out in the deep end, send them Monday Motivation. It's free
 here.

Copyright © 2012 Mick Silva Editing, All rights reserved.
Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp