Finding the Words

Posted by : | October 9, 2015

I was writing before I even knew what words were. Blessed with a vivid imagination, as a small child I created stories in my head that were as detailed as any book I have ever read. I traveled to far away places where I lived in castles and dined with queens. I danced with cowboys in the West and strolled in hoop skirts under moss lined oak trees in the South. I became a mother to twelve children and raised them in a big old white colonial in New England in a place I called Waterfall. I was a famous movie actress and a talented dancer. I was beautiful and wise and kind and sought after by all. And then I learned to read.

Reading took me where my imagination could not. I could visit places and be characters that others created with their words. I could learn new things and be inspired and encouraged. I would read for hours, devouring book after book.Then, I discovered that I could take words and put them to paper and that I was good at doing so. I fell in love with writing. I imagined myself as a famous author. I dreamed about writing stories that others would want to read and about my words giving people the ability to travel to new places in their lives.

I have written my entire life, both professionally and personally. I studied English and journalism in college. I have written business grants and business letters. I have composed articles for newsletters. I have taught half awake teenagers how to write essays and short stories. I have written speeches and class curriculums. I have written poems and given them to people as gifts. I have poured my thoughts and feelings out in page after page of dozens of journals. I have written letters of encouragement and notes of sympathy. However, I am not the writer I once aspired to become. I could never seem to find the words I wanted to write. Somewhere, walking through the halls of daily living, my dream got lost. It became no more than a dusty book once opened and read with eagerness but now tucked away on a forgotten shelf.

So why start writing now? Why start this blog? Why add my words to the thousands of others seeking to have theirs be read? (Honestly, the thought of sharing my writing terrifies me.) Well, for starters, my friend Claudia has invited me to start this blog with her and I am honored and excited to go on this writing adventure together. Blogging will also provide both the impetus and the discipline to write, two things I am sorely in need of. It is also an opportunity to dust off my childhood dream of being a writer and to discover if there is any life left in it.

Many years have passed since I dreamed of living in castles or of being a famous author. I have been humbled and hurt. I have faced failure and have met disappointment. I have climbed peaks of happiness but I have also lingered too long in the crevices of despair. I have learned that joy can take root even in the darkness and that enduring love can grow out of heartbreak. I have learned that some dreams have to die in order to make room for new ones to flourish. I have discovered that having the courage to share my imperfect, full of flaws self can break down walls and build bridges, and that I have a passion for encouraging others. And through it all, I have been learning the words I had not yet known to write.

It is these words that compel me to blog: to connect with people and to encourage them. We all seek connection with one another and, often, the written word is all that enables us to do so, especially in this fast paced, internet crazed world we live in. We text. We email. We post on Facebook. We read the news. We search for information and for ideas. In all our reading and writing we are looking for interaction. We want to know how others are thinking and feeling and what they are doing. We want to be assured that we are not alone, not the only ones feeling as we do, not the only ones struggling in our relationships or in our faith, not the only ones facing fear or sickness or sadness, and not the only ones trying to make sense of the tragedy and pain in our world. We google and browse and search, looking for that which will inform or inspire. We look for words that resonate with us, words we may think but are unable to express, words that tie us together. Through this blog I hope to provide those words. I want to let people know that there are others who have walked the paths they are on. I desire to encourage and affirm people wherever they are in their lives.

I am still, in many ways, the small child who let her imagination compose the words she did not yet know. I am still a dreamer, still able to create fantastic scenarios in my head, but my dreams are for the life I live, not for the lives I used to wish to live. I still love to write but it is no longer my imagination that fuels my thoughts, but my heart. It is not the made up stories that I now want to share, although there may be a few in me still waiting to be formed, but the real life ones. It is not fame I seek but kindred souls. It is not myself I wish to lift up by writing, but others. If only one person reads this blog and gets even just one nugget of encouragement to brighten her day, then I will have fulfilled my childhood dream that I could craft words that could carry people to new places. So I walk the first scary, faltering steps to this blog and I write, this time with the words that I now know.

READ CLAUDIA’S TAKE: JUST DO THIS ALREADY

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  1. Aileen Monroe
    Posted 10/10/2015 at 1:34 am | Permalink

    Bettina, you are such an inspiration to me. I remember teaching my high school students a book that has an incredible quote spoken by a teenage boy who’s talking about vulnerability and its significance, and your writing is that connectedness he’s getting at. Thank you, Bettina
    “I walk outside and scream at the top of my lungs, and it maybe travels two blocks. A whale unleashes his cry, and it travels hundreds or even thousands of miles. Every whale in the ocean will at one time or another run into that song. And I figure whales probably don’t edit. If they think it, they say it…Whale talk is the truth, and in a very short period of time, if you’re a whale, you know exactly what it is to be you.”
    ― Chris Crutcher, Whale Talk

  2. Olivia
    Posted 10/12/2015 at 2:54 am | Permalink

    I am so proud of you for doing this!!! I know how much you dream and write and dream to write and I’m so excited and inspired that you have found a way to share this piece of your soul so openly and bravely. Your words have made a huge difference in my life and I have no doubt God will be using this blog to help others feel comforted and encouraged to be authentic and honest. The world, and especially the internet world, needs more REAL and less photoshopped/filtered ideas of what life is- I love that you are contributing this!

  3. Pam Smith
    Posted 10/13/2015 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    What a wonderful new adventure. It’s my dream to write as well. I look forward to traveling this road with you….xxoo

  4. Posted 10/14/2015 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Good for you, Dances With Cowboys. I’d definitely have to say that writing runs in our blood. Glad to see you shooting for the stars!