I’m still feeling my way into this blog–how personal is it, or how professional? How formal or informal, funny or serious? Am I talking about writing, or tangential things? Is it okay if I want to be scholarly one day, and silly the next? Or do I just spill whatever’s on my mind, that wants to be shared?
At the moment, I do have something on my mind, in the place where my Christian faith and my writing (general historical fiction market) intersect. As an active member of a writer’s forum, I meet literally hundreds of people, writing in every genre, from every viewpoint. People from every background gather to exchange experiences and opinions–sometimes on topics that are far more personal than professional. Troubles, secrets, deep hurts, are shared in the password protected anonymity that such a forum offers. Tell your own heartaches, and you’ll get promises to pray for you, suggestions on Near Eastern meditation practice, and atheists sending you good vibes. Mostly, it’s an incredibly positive experience, whether you give or receive.
Other times, being the “listener” breaks your heart. Too many writers come in dragging loads of confusion, pain, guilt, depression, despair and worthlessness. Of course, we are not counselors or psychologists. We say that over and over. We tell fellow writers, get professional help. See your doctor. Call a hotline. We offer virtual hugs and try to slap emotional Band-Aids on things that can’t be fixed. Sometimes, having tried all our best advice, we just helplessly watch. And sometimes people leave–disappear from the forums, taking their pain with them, and leaving us to wonder: did we do enough?
I don’t know. I pray over every person I answer, and I still don’t know. But in a recent tragedy–a far too common tragedy of a human being collapsing under a crushing weight of self-loathing and loneliness–collapsing just slowly, day by day and week by week–I’m struck at the horrible irony of watching someone die inside for feeling that no one wants them, when the God I know wants them with such relentless love and pain that He died before they were ever born because He does not want to spend eternity without them.
Which leads me here, to post a note, or a reminder. You may not need it. You may feel it has nothing to do with the business of writing books. But it happens to be where my faith meets my work as a writer, and I address it here to anybody whose heart is breaking in the dark.
If you know someone who needs this, feel free to pass it on.