words keep vigil

by hilarysherratt

I don’t remember the last time I felt this unsure about what to write. I can’t remember the last time I sat here and knew the words were waiting for something I wasn’t willing to wait for. The words are wiser than me.

Maybe that’s what writer’s block is about, sometimes, a protection of your heart from the things it wants to say but shouldn’t, or can’t, or if it did it might tremble the foundations in the ways that destroy but do not build.

Maybe the words keep watch over us. I’m not above believing that, in some mysterious way they have, in the way writers and words befriend each other, every day, and heal and reconcile and fight again. But maybe my lack of words, my sense that they are hiding somewhere just beyond my reach, maybe that is their offering of protection.

We will come back to you when your heart is ready.
We will come back to you when you have allowed silence to teach you as much as we teach you,
when you have given us up as your birthright or your talent or your calling or your property, and remembered that we
re-member you.

I sometimes hate how when I write I discover that there are a thousand things the words would like to reveal to me. The words find me out, hollowed by a lie I’m trying to tell or weighed down by the truth I’ve been avoiding. The words – about love or calling or fear or last night’s conversation or this morning’s prayer – the words gesture at the bigger silence I must enter. The words find me, too comfortable in what I know I can do, too sure of myself, and they look back at me from the white of the screen or the page and I see how little I actually know. I see the silence they point to – the delicate and unsayable – and I see how I hide from it.

So I sit here and I wait, and I wait, and I think about how I’m trying to write a post about waiting for words that are patient inside my impatient heart, and again, even here, the words point to the bigger silence.

We will come back to you - the promise -

when you have allowed silence to teach you as much as we teach you – the work -

when you have gotten out of the way long enough to remember that He is always speaking.

I don’t know what to write. But the words, somewhere beyond me, keep a vigil.


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