As I sat tonight, doing sermon preparation for Sunday, I realized that the power and the beauty of the Writer’s Track at the International Amahoro Gathering was that it created, unexpectedly, a safe space for so many of the participants to lament.
Many of the exercises led many of us into spaces
- where memories were triggered,
- where truth was revealed,
- and where courage caused us to share deep wounds, impossible hopes and dreams and forgotten,joy-filled childhood memories with people we barely knew.
And yet we felt so safe, gently held by the facilitators (Idelette and Claire) and by those around our tables.
Our first exercise in “free writing”, was to answer the question, “Why am I here?” I tried not to over-think any of the exercises, and I must admit that as I put pen to paper to answer this question, I tried to think faster than my hand could write so that I at least had an idea of what I would write. But Someone had other ideas… this God who has gently been pursuing me decided that this week would be a place where He would bring healing in a completely unexpected way.
As I began to write, I realized that I was articulating, possibly for the first time, the source of my fear of writing. Here is what I wrote,
I am here because, like Bishop Zac said, you need to go to the place that fear, because that is how you learn courage. I have never believed that I could write – maybe because I hated creative writing in English and Afrikaans. I absolutely hated those assessments because I did not know what I was doing, and because, by putting it on paper, other people would know that I did not know what I was doing. So I hid from others. i would not commit to paper any of my own thoughts or opinions because others would be able to see that which I have tried to desperately to hide. But now I’m hear to face my fear, to face myself, to come out of hiding.
This lament, this exercise in truth-telling, led me, not only to a place of surprise, but also to a place of amazement. Because now, as I face my truth, I am finding the courage to own my voice and write.
In my next two posts, I will share my responses to the other free writing exercises that continued to bring about new revelations, old memories, deepening friendship and healing.