dear hilary: who it’s all for

Dear Hilary,

Why do you do this? Why do you write? Why do you bother? There are other blogs of all different kinds, people writing just like you, people with years of advice you can’t have, because you’re so young. Why do you do this?

A Skeptical Reader

Dear Skeptical Reader,

For October 24, my daily book of quotes from Rilke says,

“Here is the time for telling. Here is its home.
Speak and make known: More and more
the things we could experience are lost to us, banished by our failure
to imagine them.
Old definitions, which once
set limits to our living,
break apart like dried crusts.” – From the Ninth Duino Elegy

Fitting, isn’t it? I hoped he would have something amazing to say when I read your question and fear rocketed through me. Because while we usually preach “no one right answer” we always suspect that there might be one better answer, one wiser answer, one answer that will convince you that I am really qualified to do this, to be this, to name myself this. When I ask myself why I write, I want to say it’s because I must, because I see better, because I have a gift with words.

But that’s not really it. Whether those things are true in any degree is irrelevant. I write because I love people. I write because of you, the skeptical reader. I write because more than anything I’d like to be a vessel of living water and so far, this small, unknown corner of the blog is my first big attempt. I am trying to love with my words.

We miss things because we fail to imagine them. I am with the poet, that this is the time for the telling. Not someday in the future when my young self is a distant, blurry picture. Not when I think I have the right reasons to write. Not when I am worn in by children or jobs or cross-country moves or fights in the airport. I don’t know when those things will happen, and if I wait until they do, if I wait until I think I have lived to write anything, then I will fail to imagine the telling of this story. I will fail to make here the home for my story. Here, and now, a 22 year old with her pockets full of plane tickets and big dreams, without a clue where to begin looking for fullness. Here is the home of that story.

I write for the five people who found a post about singleness that I wrote in the deep dark pit of despairing about singleness and felt less alone, even if it was just for a moment. I write for the good girls who fear that grace might not have enough room for them, who believe that love is earned and not poured out, who trust more in their ability to please than the God who already adores. I write to hold their hand across the internet and promise them that the same God they fear won’t have grace cherishes and adores them. I write for the girl in the pew ahead of me who looks longingly at the boy across the aisle from her, to catch her as she turns away and promise her that someday we’ll sit on a front porch somewhere and the rejection and wonder and hurt will be the building and making of our bigger life.

I write for the people in Starbucks who sit side by side comparing the chaos that lives inside them, and wondering if it might ever become calm. I write for those of us who wonder about sex and love, who pace up and down the floorboards of their bedroom anxious over the non-texter, the non-returner-of-the-phone-calls, the non-job-offer or the non-grad-school-application. I write for poets and stragglers, for letter writers and lovers of words, for ramblers in the woods and for the one person who might read this post and in the five minutes it takes them, steady their heartbeat. That’s who this is for. That’s what this is about.

I write to imagine the person I pray I someday become: alive with wild love, holding hands across tables in Starbucks and in a quiet office somewhere, tucking hair behind ears and pouring a second glass of water.

I write because here is the home of my story.

And because, most of all, always, because I love.



13 thoughts on “dear hilary: who it’s all for

  1. And we read words — yours and many others — for those reasons too, right? We read to listen and learn and love. And sometimes we read because there’s too much distance filling up space. Miss you, Hil.

  2. you write because your words are as beautiful as your soul, you are brave enough to share that with the world. and on behalf of one of those repeatedly steadied heartbeats, thank you. 🙂

  3. I am a lover of words, Starbucks, and walking in the woods…although I am several years older than you and have two girls as well. 🙂
    I love your brave and beautiful soul. God has used your writing to encourage my heart today. Words reach across time and space and hold people together with a cord of belonging…a comforting knowledge that, no matter where we are in life, we are never alone. So keep telling your story; there are people who need to hear your voice.

  4. Hey….I’ve never been here before but I just popped over from Lisa Jo’s blog and wanted to say hi. Your writing resonated with me, and I kind of want to sit across that table in Starbucks and talk. We’re in different seasons, I’m a few years older with two little girls but I could have written these words too.
    Thanks for writing.

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