While scrolling through my Facebook feed some years ago, I came across a link to Bill Wolfe’s website, Read Her Like an Open Book. Someone had posted a link to a book review he’d written, and I’d clicked on it, finding myself at a website dedicated to reviewing and showcasing books by women. As a…
I’m sorry that my appearances on this blog are so abrupt–so few and far between. I’ve been saving my creative energy for stuff I can send off to a legitimate journal for publication. But this blog is good for me… when I remember to write in it.
I’m in Hattiesburg, Mississippi now, working on my MA in Creative Writing. I was accepted to 4 MFA programs but wasn’t fully funded in any of them, so I opted to go to the MA route where I have full tuition remission with an assistantship.
I thought that living by myself again would open the door for my heart to get straightened out with God. That maybe I would feel like a normal person again or who I had always thought I was in my head. It turns out I never was who I thought I was. It was like there were two different Brookes running parallel to each other, only they were going in opposite directions.
One of these Brookes had this adoring, worshipful relationship with Jesus and the other one was very angry and very sad and had little trust in God.
A week or so ago, I was sitting on the sofa, drinking my morning coffee. My eyes were closed and I was having one of those really rare quiet moments where I wasn’t thinking about what to write or what I needed to read or what in my apartment needed cleaning. There were no cats bidding for my lap or requesting more kibble. And it was like Jesus said, “I want you to sit here and imagine what your life would be like if you were happy.”
Now, there’s a part of my imagination that can be really dark. Some of my stories come from that part of my imagination but this time, I imagined light. I remembered feelings. Feelings I had when Jesus spoke to me and I knew it was Him. Or when I felt loved by Him and was in deep communion with him. I imagined what it would be like as a person who had joy. I imagined healthy relationships. I imagined inspired creativity.
It was sort of like Jesus wanted me to practice changing how my brain worked. That I had gotten used to thinking negative thoughts all day and that the whole mechanism of my mind needed to be rebooted.
Yesterday, I was listening to this podcast by Jonathan David and Melissa Helser. They were discussing a new album they released and they played this song by Phyllis Unkefer. Let me tell ya, it was a snotfest in my bathroom as I listened. I’ll tell you why in a minute but listen to this first.
One morning, a few years ago, I was spending time with God and like I always did at that point in my life, I asked him what He wanted me to know that day. He didn’t really say anything to me but He showed me a picture of a giant rainbow. Hmmmm… that’s all you got? I thought. Well, rainbows do symbolize God’s promises, so I guessed it was a good thing though I wasn’t all that impressed.
I went to small group that very night but left early because it just felt like my life was crap and I didn’t want anyone else to see me so miserable. I was a single, thirty-something woman working at a job I hated. The one thing I did love, leading worship, had been taken away from me, mostly because of pettiness from others. I had a lot of resentment and anger and hurt. On the way home, I looked up and a giant rainbow was stretched across the sky. I pulled over to the side of the road and stared at it, in tears. It was exactly the kind of thing I had known Jesus to do in my life.
Listening to that song yesterday reminded me, again, that we can live in hope. Hope is the place God wants us to reside. Our imagination can be a place where rainbows and beauty and struggle coexist. Battles and wars have a kind of beauty too. That’s why we watch war movies with all their bloody gore, because we live to see victory at the end of them. I think we all need start imagining ourselves winning the battle, hand in hand with Jesus.