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Well, of course, I’m back. 🙂 Elora has given me, and the rest of the class, another set of questions to tackle and think about for my Story 101 class. And what happens? I’m conflicted. Here’s the gist of what she’s asked me to think about:

What are the things you could talk about constantly? The things that excite you and make you want to tell everyone and everything about all the time. The things that make your heart pound and your blood rush through you in a way that you think there is nothing like it, no way, no how, this is the best thing ever since sliced bread?

Yeah…that’s what she wants us to talk about. And I’m conflicted.

Because we all know one of my answers is going to be books and authors. There’s no way around it. One of the biggest joys in my life is getting to shout from the rooftops about authors and their dreams coming to life between the pages. It does give me a rush. It does make my heart sing. Loudly. And it does make me exhausted in a way that is the perfect type of exhaustion-the going to bed with a smile on my face and passing out form of exhaustion.

But, I also know this is not really what she is talking about. That is my easy answer. The one you could have all guessed and written down for me, right? And it can’t be all there is that makes my heart sing loudly-where you could hear it without me saying a single word. Maybe even in a very crowded and loud room. And it’s not.

So what are the things I want to say loudly with my own voice? I want to speak healing and freedom into others. I want to see the yokes of pain and hurt and heartache break off of people on a daily basis and learn that they can move forward and see wholeness and joy and beauty again, if even for the very first time. Why? Because I know what it is to hurt. I know what it is to feel as if there is no going forward. That you are stuck in the past, either by choices you have made or choices that have been made for you, or both. I know that spot. The sitting in the sticky, ugly muck of life and thinking you have no hope or future. Even thinking that you may not deserve one.

So, what do I want people to hear the loudest when I speak? To not believe the lies that are whispered, or spoken, or shouted in our ears. Especially as we work to heal and move past and forward. And there will be lies told to us. Sometimes they’ll come from people in our lives, even well-meaning people. Sometimes they’ll be lies we tell ourselves. No matter what, they are just that: Lies.

I want people to hear truth ringing loud when they hear me speak, when they read or hear my stories. I want them to see that moving forward doesn’t mean you go from being hit backwards into a wall straight into running to the Gloryland. Sometimes, it means you have to move into a sitting position and then crawl, and then tentatively shuffle, and then walk, and then run, leap and bound. And I know when you are sitting in the muck and the desolate space, that all of it seems impossible. It seems like there is absolutely no way you can even pick your face up out of the grossness and push yourself up with your arms and hold yourself upright. I know that place. I know it better than I can even explain fully.

So how do you do it? 

Not alone. 

And so I want people to hear me screaming, YOU CAN DO IT! I want them to see and hear me and know that I am working to help hold their arms and give them strength in the midst of it all. Whether that be through simple encouragement, a kick in the rear, prayer, or through the words of my stories.

I want my voice to be used for healing. I want my stories to cry of hope and healing but to be truthful to the pain and suffering that often happens on our way to those places. Because life is not all sunshine and roses. We often act like it is because…who would really want to know that my heart is breaking into tiny, minute pieces and I don’t know how I’m going to take a deep breath, or any breath at all? We tell ourselves no one wants to hear or know that so we stay in the dark. But the transition from that place to the one of light and beauty and joy is the story I want to tell. It’s the story I crave to tell. I love the ugly beginning and the beautiful end, of course. I need that in my stories as well. The arc. 🙂

But the part that makes my blood boil and my heart sing is the middle part, the messy part, the in between stages where we learn to walk, run and fly again. I want my voice to be one that screams of possibilities and dreams-even ones that feel too big.

Because I believe there’s no such thing.