When Life Gets in the Way of Writing

I write this for all my friends who feel life gets in the way of writing.

* * *

SHIRLEY smiles and sparkles
and brightens every room she is in.

I have noticed.

When she mentions her grandchildren
and how many
and answers my questioning look
by telling me her age,
I find it hard to believe
because she seems much younger,
but then
she has discovered the age-defying secret
of a smile.

even when gravely concerned,
gives off warmth not worry.

I have noticed.

I have gone out into the cold night
warmer because of her send off.
But then she knows the worry-defying secret
of casting cares where they rightly belong
and leaving them there.

* * *

we descended stairs last week
partners in care
and she told me of her evening routine
of visits even when there’s been no call for one,
of her belief in the restorative power
of touching base
just because she is thinking of the person.

I have noticed.

I say what I have thought long
“You have a gift.”

She stops
on the step
and stares at me.

Thinking she did not hear,
mumbler that I am,
I repeat
“THAT is a gift, ministering comfort. It is.”

I saw the tear
and worried I’d somehow upset her,
until she spoke.

“I THANK YOU for that
and especially today.”

And I knew
without her telling me
that somehow
that day
she’d been made to feel
maybe by someone else,
maybe by her own voice in her head –
and those few words
had brought her back to full height

* * *

I do not write this to say I am marvelous,
but to say something else.
because the story is in the BACKSTORY.

On my way there,
while driving,
I felt muddled,
so many plates spinning
and me always leaving things
part done
to tend to other things,
nothing seen through to the end.
My new norm, this.

Haunted by ‘used to be.”
I used to be a writer.

But then
in the stairwell,
in that moment,
I wake up
to the truth
about perfect placement
the whirlwind that is getting in the way
is the whirlwind
that puts me where I need to be.

And I am reminded
that a writer’s job
is part in the noticing,
part in the processing,
part in the speaking out,
in the application of words.

In the stairwell,
I heard a sentence completed,
period at the end –
I felt it –
and knew I had written on Shirley
words that made a difference,

and PEOPLE beat paper any day.

And something was written on me as well,
something UNmuddling.

* * *

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Sweeping Aside

About Marilyn

Reading, thinking, listening, writing and talking about faith, creativity, ESL for refugees, grief and finding the story in a story. Student of Spanish. Foe of procrastination. Cheez-it fan. People person with hermit tendencies or vice-versa. Thank you so much for reading.
This entry was posted in character studies, control, finishing, intentional relating, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to When Life Gets in the Way of Writing

  1. Emily says:

    Wow! Right/write on, woman!

    I had a similar experience yesterday.
    I said to a friend who stopped by that the lovely woman who comes to clean my house twice a month was my angel in front of said lovely woman.
    That went deep and lit her up. She explained the backstory to me later. Words are powerful.

    Life is not getting in the way of your writing, you are writing your way thru life.


  2. Inkling says:

    Am I ever glad I clicked on the link that led me to your blog! This post is such a completely and totally perfect and timely gift!

    It’s been a whirlwind of a storm lately and a gift I have in serving others has been misunderstood and twisted and made so painful that I’ve wanted to just give up and quit. The little things that keep me going though are little words much like the story you shared about the exchange on the stairs. If it weren’t for people being willing to give a gift of words to a weary servant, who knows what our world would look like?!

    I have bookmarked your blog and look forward to coming back, reading the archives, and getting to know you a bit more.


  3. Belinda says:

    I loved the story and the way you told it. Yes, the gift of words can be spoken out as well as written down. It is still a gift of words! What a lovely thought.


  4. deidra says:

    “…PEOPLE beat paper any day…”

    Those words. Right there.
    You have written them today for me.
    And you didn’t even know it.
    Perhaps today you are twice unmuddled
    and I am unmuddled, too.
    Because of you.


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