"Feeling is deep and still
and the word that floats on the surface
Is as a tossing buoy
that betrays where the anchor is hidden"
Longfellow, from Evangeline
Two years ago, when my family and I arrived at the cottage we rented on Prince Edward Island, these two attached chairs beckoned. Tired from slogging through work and responsibilities and in need of some downtime, we unpacked the van, dumped out stuff in the cottage and set out to reunite with our friends who we meet up with every year. Instead of being social like I normally am, I poured myself a glass of wine, grabbed my black journal which I had packed at the last minute and sat down in the chair on the left with a tired thud.
I started to write. For the first time in many years, I began to let it flow. Though I had carried my journal around with me for a long time, I could never find the lost words. As much as I have always loved writing, my pen had been silent except for a few scratches of ideas, a few half-hearted attempts.......
"Just write.........don't edit.........let the words flow......" advice I had recently been given by a friend......... "You can edit it later......just get the words down....... "
And so I did. I took his timely advice.
It felt like a releasing rainfall bursting out of the clouds
It felt like a rush of water through a dam
It felt like a ball rolling down a hill picking up speed
The air around me and the tides below helped me find the silence within to hear the tumbling words.
It was like holding onto the hand of an old friend.
Every morning I awoke early. Quietly, I'd pull on my oversized sweatshirt overtop of my nightgown and tiptoe out of the cottage with a large travel mug of tea and my journal. Sometimes if the wind was brisk, I'd cart out a blanket to tuck my legs under. Then, I'd settle into the chair, with my tea to my right and my left hand free to capture the words. It was always a relief to find out that it wasn't a fluke........that the words were still tumbling out of the silence like a prayer.
I hadn't realized how thirsty I was. Thirsty for prayer, for spiritual connection, for expression to myself and to God, for the outlet to confess that I had lost myself. I had lost the connection to me. Though I didn't take the time to analyze why it was happening......I was too busy being the vessel for the words to stop to think about it.......I knew it was meaningful. It was later, after my writing continued on into the fall when I began to reflect on how it made me feel and what it offered to me spiritually.
I'm still reflecting on the meaning. No rush to figure it out fully. Just like my re-emergence of my faith, my writing and the topics which float to the surface "from an anchor below" has a transformative gameplan which isn't held by me. I'm holding onto the hand of an old friend whom I'm learning to trust again, whom I'm wanting to be acquainted with as an adult, not as an adolescent who wasn't mature enough to interpret, to challenge, or to be comfortable with the grey areas. Writing about one idea at a time is the pace needed for me to get it.
My journal writing two years ago seemed like it had nothing to do with religion and it had more to do with simply spewing out my observations of what life had offered up to that point. Coinciding with an important reunion in my life at Camp Kawabi, it seemed like a natural time to reflect and to assess. Interestingly, the last time I had written so much was when I had been actively involved with the church in my late teens and early twenties and when I had also been leading summer chapel services at Kawabi. And there I was, sitting in an Adirondack chair overlooking the Northumberland Strait tides finding my way back to those beliefs again. And I didn't even know it.
The hand of an old friend.......passed me a pen two years ago and with an open welcoming palm invited me to take a seat........ in a chair built for two.........It is there I rediscovered the silence to listen. I'll never let go again.