Making Something is Hopeful

I’m in Rockport today, taking a break from what has been a busy, crazy schedule. Fog covers the area stretching out over the ocean, creating a thick blanket over both reality and imagination.

We drove up yesterday, one of the many cars leaving the city during afternoon rush hour. While the morning offered bright sunshine, clouds rolled in during the afternoon and a light rain was falling by the time we arrived. The minute we drove over the bridge on the highway leaving the mainland and heading into Gloucester and then Rockport a deep peace always settles over me. Gone is the frantic pace of city living. Gone is the worry about contacting people who need to be contacted whether it be via email or phone. Gone is the sense of urgency or guilt of not doing enough.

Ahead is peace, quiet, order, and rest. I am well aware that this is a luxury not shared by so many in our world, well aware of the privilege of rest and peace. I have found that the necessary response is not guilt but gratitude. Not anxious worry that I’m not doing enough but inner peace that will allow me to do well in whatever task is put before me.

As often happens when I stop, I find tears close to the surface. The tears spilled over into a conversation with my brother and sister-in-law and after the phone call ended, I sent a text thanking them for holding my tears. We all need tear-holders in our lives. It’s amazing how much peace I feel after a good, long cry, the weight and burden of tears finding a shared space instead of staying bottled up in isolation.

We are heading into the home stretch of Lent in my faith tradition, with Holy Week just one week away. I am ready for the Paschal celebration of all things new, and if I’m honest, the accompanying eggs, milk, and meat that signify that Lent (and the vegan diet accompanying Lent) is over.

Things outside of me and my control feel difficult. Whether front page news or the resulting commentary from all of us about the front-page news, or actions of others that can’t be controlled, it all feels too much. In a word – it feels hopeless. And this is why I write. Because when I write, I never feel hopeless. I feel hope and joy. I feel ready to move forward. The act of creating is a catalyst that propels me out of sadness or grief into a world full of imagination and hope. So today, I needed to write, to get a few words out to you, but mostly to me.

One of my favorite recent reads is the book Everything Sad is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri. I had begun reading the Kindle version when I received the print version from one of my sons for my birthday. I had already decided I wanted to buy the hardcopy, so it was a surprise and delight to receive it as a gift. I could never write a review of this book. It far too original and creative, and my words would never do it justice. But I want to end with a quote from the book that describes what I feel about the world and about writing.

Does writing [poetry] make you brave? It is a good question to ask. I think making anything is a brave thing to do. Not like fighting brave, obviously. But a kind that looks at a horrible situation and doesn’t crumble.

Making anything assumes there’s a world worth making it for. That you’ll have someplace, like a clown’s pants, to hide it when people come to take it away. I guess I’m saying making something is a hopeful thing to do. And being hopeful in a world of pain is either brave or crazy.

Everything Sad is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri

I write because there’s a world worth writing for. May your weekend hold hope and life and may you make something, anything actually, because it’s a world worth making something for.

3 thoughts on “Making Something is Hopeful

  1. Thank you Marilyn. This encouraged me and may my saying so, encourage you. Had dinner with Dan and Carol on Friday. We are back in Istanbul for 6 weeks, using Dans office.

    I like the thought about feeling gratitude not guilt when we experience something good and there is so much bad around us.

    I’ve been thinking lately about all the calls to sing in Scripture…. sing outloud. God deserves our praise and we are blessed when we do.

    Coram DEO, Donna

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    1. Thanks so much Donna! Happy to hear you are back in Istanbul. I look forward to seeing Dan’s office! Love your words about singing praise. When we left for Kurdistan, Carol said to me “Keep in mind to say out loud the things that God has done.” It was a wonderful challenge.

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