words keep vigil

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.



8 thoughts on “words keep vigil

  1. Oh my.
    I am with you and opposite you.

    I believe the silence is the process that you can’t climb over or educate yourself out of, and at the same time I am bursting with words to say, and not the time/ physical freedom to capture them.

    I just created a new persona (Branwyn) so I can write and practice and make the risk of those things smaller by being just a little bit invisible. I’ve never worked under a pseudonym before and I wonder if that is the jumping availability of words– all those waiting, teaching words that have been waiting for the right container or context.

    Now, the sounds might be ready.
    I hope I continue to listen and learn.

    Thank you for these words.

  2. You’re incredibly articulate about having nothing to say! Rich wisdom here! And maturity, too, in letting go of some entitlement to words. (But don’t despair! Maybe you’re not entitled, but you are gifted!!)

  3. Have you read Annie Dillard’s ‘The Writing Life’? Because she talks about the silences, and how words seem often to have their own life apart from us.

    Last year, a dear friend & I were talking about writing, and the lack of words, and the lack of creative energy. She was saying that she read somewhere (maybe L’Engle?) that we cannot pour ourselves into two deep wonderful things at once. For example: she couldn’t write while pregnant. Not because she didn’t want to, but because all that creative energy just seemed… already occupied. And I was finding, as I was pouring myself into my relationship with C, that those times I sat down to write the words felt distant, and my heart felt like it was already doing what I wanted to do with words. I don’t know how universally true this is, but. I think there’s at least something to it.

  4. this is so beautiful and I have often felt that way. It is interesting to me that my ability to write poetry is directly linked to my relationship with God and when I am dry spiritually it is often accompanied by a writer’s block. This is such a beautiful reminder for those times!

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