Hardship is something I’ve known off and on all my life, although the past few years have been especially trying for various reasons. I believe everyone comes to a point during hard times where they have the choice: Be weakened and destroyed by your trials, or be strengthened and learn from them.
All the books and movies tell us it’s an obvious choice: Choose strength, not weakness. Choose light, not darkness. But that’s much more easily said than done when life’s shadows start to close in on you and, one by one, people you once trusted turn their backs on you. Aloneness like that is no joke, reaching the bottom of yourself and truly believing there’s no more you can give, no way you can inch back toward who you were meant to be.
Many things have gotten me through the dark times of my life. God, friends (the true ones!), and family. But the one thing I’ve always taken for granted has been my writing. Writing has been a part of me so long I don’t think about it as I do other things. It’s there when I need it, when I feel like doing it, when I need an outlet.
Yet when I was at my lowest point, writing was the one thing I shoved aside. Suddenly there was no time, no room inside me, for writing about fantasy worlds when the real world was closing in so tightly around me. That part of me was closed off.
When I finally decided to weave stories again, after two long and difficult years, it was not at first in the form of writing. It was in storytelling. At night I would sit by my son’s bed and tell him stories that came from places I didn’t realize I had in me. I dredged them out of the shadows of myself not for my own sake, but for my child’s. Those stories were embodiments of the darkness the two of us had seen together. Those stories were paths back to the light. They opened me, thawed my heart, and, finally, made me long to write again.
And so I did.
I wrote my first story, and then several more, and then started on a full-length novel. Perhaps my writing itself hasn’t altered as much as I myself have changed. My characters are no longer quite so black and white. And my feeling for them is like the feeling I now strive to have for humans in general – acceptance, pity, patience. And grace.
Hard-won battles bring the most joy. I know this now, not because I read it in a book once, but because I have lived to tell the story myself.
Don’t forget to visit my blog next week to hear from a mystery guest author who will be talking about where her own writerly inspiration comes from!
Are you a writer? Crafter? Creator of some kind? Where do you get your inspiration?