Life can hit all at once. This October my husband left the country while I stayed behind to pack for a major move. So far, so good until a dear family member became gravely ill. Almost everything—boxing, cooking, laundry, cleaning, and especially writing—went out the 5th story hospital window while we watched, advocated and prayed.
Today my husband is safely home, nearly everything has found its way into a box, and best of all, our beloved is on the mend. There is time to consider how to handle crisis better when it returns. Specifically I’m asking why and especially how to keep writing.
Why keep writing through the storm? Writing can help us remember the rawness of our emotions. Fears, worries, frustrations wash over us like dark waves on a surging sea, and no one emerges unchanged. Writing can chronicle the passage.
Writing can relieve some of the tension that builds through intense conflict. Our writing likely will not flow; it will probably sputter and pop, and that is appropriate. Writing ought to reflect thoughts and emotions, even when they are difficult to express and conflicted.
Writing can help us make sense of what we hear from physicians and family, allowing us to order thoughts, form questions, and make requests and decisions. Writing can restore sanity.
Writing can remind us of what matters most. Grave illness invites deeper, more vulnerable conversations. We return to the really important. The rush of life outside the hospital can seem futile—even silly—compared to the hush of sitting at the side of a beloved.
But how do we keep writing when we’re distracted, anxious and weary? This is a harder question. Here are some possibilities.
Steal away —maybe to a cafeteria, a waiting area on another floor, an off campus coffee shop, a car or even a bathroom just down the hall.
Play music that soothes and infuses hope and joy into the soul.
Allow Scripture to diagnose, comfort and cleanse. Respond in writing if you are able.
Calamity invites prayer. Why not write your prayers just as David often did, his?
Doubtless there are other ways to keep ourselves writing. What have you done even when __________________________?