“Remember when you used to write?” he mocks cooly, grinning through a barrel of gnarly brownish teeth.
“I still write!” I declare indignantly, sure of myself, ever confident.
He laughs. Then cackles, letting his head fall back to express a strong concoction of contempt & delight.
“I mean, my dear, when you were a writer,” he adds through gritted teeth.
I pull myself up urgently, neck dripping with sweat, mouth dessert dry, as if I’m merely waking from a nightmare. But I pinch myself and realize, despairingly, that this is my reality.
“I am a writer!” I scream but it is all in the vainest. My cries are muffled, as if it is a dream after all, but this is in fact my reality, more real than I could imagine. I’ve long given up on what gives breath to my life & grace to my step. I’m only left with memories, faded pieces of paper filled with a washed out text, blurred together, messy, uneven, forgotten.
He glares at me. Then, smiles, coyly. Happy to see that I’ve given up, that I’m resigned.
The truth is, I just don’t know how to begin again.
One day, two years and a month ago, I walked out of rehearsal, crying tears of self-doubt for the fifth time that week. We were about a week into a short rehearsal process of a new work at school. It was a beautiful play & my first shot at a more “featured” role, after a difficult & humbling semester backstage.
And so, everything in me wanted to do it “right” and yet everything that came out of my mouth and from my being seemed to me to be just “wrong.”
“I’m a failure. Stupid. I. Cannot. Do. This. Anymore.” Thoughts ran through my head & tears down my cheeks as I raced blindly out of Green Hall, past classrooms empty for the weekend, & the lonely Box Office.
“Elizabeth, I hate–” I began, firmly because I meant it, like a dagger to my heart I whispered it so sharply and then I just stopped. It was raining.
Yes, I live in Vancouver where it rains and rains and RAINS. But this–this–was a totally different kind of rain.
This rain was soft and light. It touched me and then it didn’t. It brushed my uncovered hair, soothed my tired & imperfect cheeks, & momentarily stained my warm red jacket. It bounced off my heavy, black backpack, dripping to the already wet pavement. I felt the calm coolness on the tip of my nose and it met & melded with my warm tears. The water from the sky became one with the grief of my eyes and I realized that I was So Very Loved.
Overwhelmed in my pain & joy, I stumbled & collapsed upon a nearby bench. I continued to cry and it continued to rain, lightly, softly, beautifully, kisses from heaven fell upon me. And I knew that it was going to be alright. I was going to be alright.
So you see, I’ve decided that I should write again, in spite of myself. In spite of the voice that mocks me through a mouthful of rotten teeth. In spite of my disillusionment and lack of inspiration, exhaustion and pain. In spite of everything, I’m resolving to write.
And today, as I left the library after a time of recharging & brainstorming, I felt His touch.
Little drops of rain, momentarily staining that same red jacket, lightly wetting my wavy brown hair and still imperfect cheeks. I have a different backpack now — it’s blue and red. I’m two years older & don’t have a role in a play & I’ve graduated school.
But I have the same Father.
And you know what those rain drops He sends feel like? Kisses. Kisses, from Heaven no less.
Yes, Jesus is kissing me. And I am beginning to write again.