Once in awhile, a teenager will stumble onto my blog and leave a comment. I consider those words gifts because they offer me a glimpse into my children’s future, a heads up, a reminder to stay present and connected to my precious ones.
But this particular young lady’s comment was different. Yes, it contained powerful insights that revealed what children need from their parents, but there was an added element that could not be ignored. Using carefully chosen words and a unique writing style, the young commenter described a vast space that had developed between her mother and herself. But she did it with eloquence that is rarely found in a comment box.
In her third paragraph, the teen disclosed that she loved to write stories as a child but stopped due to her mother’s discouragement. Almost as an afterthought, she added that she’d just started writing again.
That’s when I stopped reading.
In my mind’s eye, I saw an elevator door quickly closing. I yearned to do everything in my power to stick my hand between the metal panels, causing them to open wide…wide enough for an escape.
I reached for my laptop and responded with words of encouragement—words I hoped might prevent the doors from shutting on a future of writing, a message that might free her from the confines of a passion unfulfilled. This is a portion of my note to her:
I was only a few sentences into your comment when I said to myself, “This young lady is a writer.” You are a writer. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. I was a teacher for ten years, an English major, and a life-long writer; I know good writing when I see it. Please keep writing. Even if you show no one, write. My friend, writing saved me. My problems are different than yours, but each time I came to my blog and wrote about my struggles and triumphs to let go of my distractions, I got one step closer to healing. After two years of writing, I have come pretty far. I’ve uncovered hurts in my soul that are on their way to leaving me forever. If you need encouragement to write, come here. Even if you leave comments to let the world know what we need to know, this space is open to you. You have so much to offer.
I printed my response to the courageous young lady and find myself referring to it when the words in my head can’t seem to make it to paper. And if you are a writer, then you know there is almost always an obstacle between you and your writing. Perhaps it is your inner critic; perhaps it is your job, family, or other life duties; perhaps it is someone telling you you’re not good enough.
Even if you aren’t a writer, this message might be for you. Perhaps you are an artist, a musician, a doodler, a dancer, a singer, or a woodworker. Maybe you are a dreamer with a dream that won’t quite die no matter how many times you’ve pushed it aside.
Today I am urging you, as I did my young commenter, to dismiss the obstacles and start. Start on scraps of paper while waiting in line at the grocery store. Start on the margins of the book you are reading. Start on your back porch. Start in the privacy of your home. Start with shaky hands. Start with timid feet. Start and show no one. Start and show the world.
Don’t let the elevator door close; it might take you to somewhere you don’t want to go.
Instead burst open the doors of your dreamer’s heart…and set yourself free.