Back to the Narrow Path Home
It's a new year. Each one brings this silent, ambiguous questioning - or rather, beckoning. A wondering when I'll write again. Or even if.
I've started three different blogs since I stopped writing regularly three years ago and let The Narrow Path Home expire. Literally and perhaps, figuratively.
I kept searching for a new name, a new theme, a new title that would feel more ... appropriate... or perhaps authentic. Maybe both. In some ways, I felt like I needed a fresh start, but the truth is even our fresh starts are just new chapters in the old book of our old lives. The afternoon may indeed look completely different from the midmorning, but it is one story nonetheless.
Inevitably, it became obvious that I needed to come back here to where I began a decade ago and do what I do best: just begin again.
A friend of mine died last month. For many of us, it was sudden and unexpected. We had no way of knowing that she was suffering and struggling with a battle that only those closest to her knew about. As much as my heart broke for her family and her three children, the sorrow I felt for the life she had lived towards the end was even more painful. In their grieving, her obituary was simple and brief. She was a wife, a mother, an administrative assistant. That wasn't all, of course, but that was all that was written. I watched as they lowered her casket into the grave. That wasn't all, of course, but at the same time it felt as though it was.
And then, a few days into the new year, I stumbled across the Twelve Truths that Anne Lamott once shared, which included:
"You're going to feel like hell if you wake up someday and you never wrote the stuff that is tugging on the sleeves of your heart: your stories, memories, visions and songs -- your truth, your version of things -- in your own voice. That's really all you have to offer us, and that's also why you were born."
And I realized, all over again, that these words really are all I have to offer. They are all I have to give. Someday, they will be all that is left of me. Of course, there will be my social media footprint, scattered with thousands of random photographs and even more random memes. But the fabric of who I am, who I will be, and someday, of who I was is woven through the words I've written here.
Admittedly, it isn't very consistent or congruent. I've written about everything from battling my weight to wrestling with my faith to raising toddlers who have somehow now morphed into teenagers.
Rereading Anne's words caused me to feel the gravity of the regret I might feel if I simply stopped writing forever. It made me feel regret for the words I haven't written in the years since I stopped, the stories untold, the memories missed. Perhaps, more than anything, that single quote reminded me of why I ever wrote in the first place. It's who I am. It's why I was born.
And it's why I came back to the narrow path home.