It was a simple task: Write a short story about if you could be and do anything you wanted (i.e. a perfect life). Use extra paper if necessary.
I put the workbook down on the coffee table, closed it and pushed it away as if the question didn’t just prick my heart. As if the pain of answering it could be avoided. And there it sat for a few days. When I finally went back to it the following lines came out:
I would be surrounded by books, cozy in a small room with a fire and a wave of inspiration. I would put words to paper that changed people’s lives and set them free. I would tell stories and awaken hearts, move mountains and pierce the hearts of the Kings enemies. I would travel from idyllic setting to idyllic setting taking breaks to eat, to drink, to meet, to work and to learn from the people and culture around me. I wouldn’t be afraid of anything I put on paper, and I would call my agent every so often to get report of lives changed and people connecting with the deepest parts of themselves to the glory of God. My soul would be full and I would not be lonely. I would love people crazy well.
The words tumbled out messily. They came out unedited. They painted a picture of what I secretly dream life would look like for me. At the time I didn’t consider that I would have to read them aloud to a group of woman also taking the week to write a few lines about their perfect lives. I didn’t consider that this dream is full of disappointment and a level of pain I have been avoiding. I didn’t consider that there was enough grief involved in this admittance to fill a jar with the tears it could produce. I just wrote it down, shaky handed and in secret.
When it came time to share the answer with the small group I only got to the word “cozy” before I started crying. I tried to explain that I felt that this dream life was once a possibility for me, but that I had been struggling for years with the feeling that it had been taken away, that I had wasted my time and been seen as unworthy of keeping the task. I have blamed myself and I have blamed God for the circumstances and changes that have happened that don’t line up with my dream.
I tried to explain that writing has become more of a fear than a dream to me and that I struggle with the possibility of failing and the chance that I will be called a fraud or a hypocrite.
And that is where this story is. I pray earnestly that it is not the end. I hope beyond hope that courage sets in.
“Dreams are illustrations from the book your soul is writing about you.” Marsha Norman