Battles in the Silence

The past few months I’ve thought a lot about blogging. I wondered why I am not doing it more. I was perplexed because writing is such a joyso why avoid it? Why the procrastination? The answer has slowly come to me through gradual epiphanies. Writing is a lot like ripping your soul into a thousand shards and then putting all the pieces back together in a new pattern. My mind has been filled with so many words and thoughts recently that I’m beginning to feel suffocated under the weight. The only way to find myself again is to write it all out. Because writing is like having a therapy session with yourself. Or, since I’ve never been to a therapy session I ought to say I suspect a therapy session is very similar to writing. First it feels awkward and uncomfortable. You want to crawl into the corner and die, or at least sleep for a very long time. You stumble through words and wonder if English is really your native language. Then it starts to get better. You’re thinking, “okay, I can do this!” But that’s when it really gets rough. You’re writing along having a lovely time, but you run into all these strange characters in your head. You find yourself in the midst of about five different versions of yourself having an argument. It goes something like this, “Are you sure about that? Everything you’ve ever thought is wrong! Look at this amazing truth you’ve just discovered! Your life is beautiful! Your life is a wreck, so much wasted and lost. Go be a hermit! See all the contradictions here? You obviously can never figure out reality. This is what life is aboutgo be fantastic now. How can you ever be fantastic, you loser? You are just so wrong. There’s some truth buried here under all your words, dig it up and live by it. What is truth? And how I can ever possibly find it?” So this is what happens during a writing session. The silence and the blank screen seem to invite every emotion and memory to wage war within you.

Eventually it all works out. You banish the fears, regrets, and accusations one by one. Then you start rebuilding your heart, hoping that this time it will be strong enough to hold out against all your enemies. Deep down you know this can’t be, for facing your darkness is how you grow, and you’ll never completely destroy it in this life. You must be content with truces and look forward to the day when all will be made right, when the darkness will banished forever, and you’ll be filled with perfect peace. But this is why you write: to do battle with yourself. It doesn’t matter what you’re writing about. The act of contemplation, of opening yourself up, of committing to complete honesty, of working through your emotions and thoughtshow could one think this is an easy or pleasant thing?

And it isn’t something that can be escaped. It would be like living with someone and refusing to ever look them in the eye. It would be like sectioning off part of your house and putting everything you dread and fear in that place. Of course it works sometimes to put things you fear in the cupboard, but that isn’t a long-term option. It will either burst through and consume you, or you will be irresistibly drawn to it at some point. You can run away for a while, but not forever. You either confront yourself or wake up every day in fear of what might be inside.

Yet writing is beautiful. Because you emerge knowing who you are, knowing what you are not, knowing what you might become, and knowing what you want to be. When you stop running you will discover darkness, but you will discover light as well. Because through writing you’re brought to the edge of despair, and then you see grace afresh; with new eyes you look upon the mercies of God and discover there’s light strong enough to overcome the darkness. After you question the existence of truth you encounter the truest truth of the universethat God is light and in Him there is no darkness at alland find comfort.

It is easier to keep running, it is easy to make excuses, it is easier to keep putting it off, because the heart-wrenching is so painful, but the peace that follows is worth it. It is easy to avoid anything that might hurt, it is easy to protect ourselves from being vulnerable, but nothing truly good ever came out of ease and safety. Joy comes in the morningbut night must come first. And I guess that’s why I keep writing. Because although I want to resist sometimes, I know this is what I must do.

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