The book is finished. The memoir I’ve been writing: PERMISSION, Loving the Child You Were Written to Be. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. A book I believe God called me to write. It’s done. No…it hasn’t been published. It hasn’t even been edited for errors or flowability or whatever it’s called when a book follows a solid sequence, but I’ve done all I can do.
It’s taken a toll on my mind and body. Mary Karr warned me in, The Art of Memoir, “I’ve said it’s hard. Here’s how hard: everybody I know who wades deep enough into memory’s waters drowns a little. Two hours after Carolyn See finished her first draft of Dreaming, she collapsed with viral meningitis: It was my brain’s way of saying, ‘You’ve been looking where you shouldn’t be looking.’
The thing about writing memoir; it’s going back and reliving it on an immersed level. Back then, we didn’t stop for feelings, we managed with varying vices. Reviving it on the page forces you to taste, touch, wear, smell, hear those memories in ways you may not have allowed yourself to reach when it was actually happening. From this vantage point you’re accepting the full impact of events all at once. (My therapist shakes her head when I tell her this.)
After the first draft, I went to the hospital with pneumonia. The second, I came down with a month-long virus sending me to the ER for dehydration. The third draft triggered a nervous breakdown—back to the hospital. The fifth draft—dotting the last sentence—I literally left my chair in a full-blown panic attack.
It all began with a dream, “I want to write!” Progressed like a question, “Can I write this?” Ended like the last runner of a marathon, “I finished.” The cheering had all died down. Empty cups and torn streamers lay in the street. Everyone’s gone home and I’m wondering if it was all worth it. The last leg looks nothing like the dream I first imagined.
But dreams never do.
I wonder if Abraham, the father of many nations, ever asked, “Was this part of your plan God? Have I misread you?” Did the brave boy David, crowned King of Israel, ever crumble over all the blood on his hands? Do you think Mary’s dreams included a price on her newborn’s head? Or a cross stained red?
God has never been about furthering his kid’s fame or fortune—the stuff dreams are made of. He’s not training us to take home the trophy. He’s making us fit for the kingdom.
Now in the pause of proving myself capable, I’m counting great gains. Relationships have healed. Bitterness has been beaten. My understanding of forgiveness and grace is going out and flowing in like the tide. My heart is no longer beating solely for itself. I’m getting comfortable in my own skin and welcoming who Jesus has loved me to be.
I put my faith in God to write the book. He carries me through the book so I can find greater faith.
What happens next—I do not know. I only know this finish-line is bigger than a bestseller.