In 2012, I began attending a day and night worship service. Where, in the presence of live musicians playing the piano and pouring over notes of spiritual worship, I stood in a lofted area meeting and re-meeting God in the Spirit.
The power pulled from deep within my own Spirit. From the spot where my rib cages arched the closest, the same spot every person who has experienced grief knows so well. I felt the place within me where the Spirit held on to me, whispering—keeping me.
I was fearless with this Spirit within.
The Spirit became my daily companion and friend. Daily encourager and taut tug of discipline.
The language I recorded in college was surmountable. Language about my first dark kiss of depression, how it hurt me, and yet I kept returning to it, addicted to the pain and the fear of its nullity. The language I wrote, day by day, turned into the overflowing joy of finding my first group of "outdoor" type friends.
In high school, you group with those who appear most like you. In college, you group with those whose interests are most similar to yours.
I found my first group of rock-climbing, black-coffee-drinking, IPA-sipping, haven't-showered-since-don't-care-when, spinach-eating, free-thinking friends.
They didn't share the same religion, the same upbringing, or the same skin color, but what we shared was a love for climbing.
It unlocked something within me.
Something I can only describe like this:
When you first see a tall rock wall, be it outside or indoors, and you feel peace.
You feel the pressures of competition on land or in water melt away. The pressure of being someone else, they all have to stay on the ground. They can’t follow you up into the air.
Where the birds are kept, the soccer ball can’t stay, and neither can your fear and anxiety.
It must all melt away because you have a new task: to hold one hold at a time. You wrap your thumb around the forefinger and middle to clasp onto the next hold.
Focusing on rising; on leaving the earth for a moment. Maybe, you can learn to appreciate this world's complex system a little bit more when you return.
The people I met during these years... they were somewhere "in-between." They weren't creatures of the earth nor creatures of the sky. They were somewhere in-between, just like me. Their minds were in the clouds, patient with the process of creativity. Their feet were on the ground, and their hearts, sensitive as all-get-out, were strung somewhere in-between.
That was an excerpt from a chapter of my life that I recently recorded.
I have 7 of these "chapters" recorded. I start with an emotion or experience and allow the words to take me on a journey through that point in time. Some memories bring joy and peace, a stillness for the journey I've been on. Other memories cut down deep into wounds that make me wonder if they were ever truly healed at all.
What will I do with all these chapters? Who knows? Maybe they will sit here on this computer or maybe they will be published one day.
One thing is for certain: language holds healing.
Language holds healing.
What was at the beginning of time? The Word. Genesis 1 describes how God uses the power of language to speak physical things into existence.
Whatever your religion is, it's communicated through generations and generations of the passing down of stories told through a certain language.
Imagine what the power of language can build (or destroy) in our own lives.
As a writer, obviously, I have a special love for language. But I think it's helpful for everyone. That time you lashed out at your aunt during Christmas? That time you climbed that mountain? That time you took a 3-week road trip? That time you... whatever. Record it!
I recently met with a Vietnam veteran who said that it saddens him that his father and grandfather didn't record their experiences during WWI and WWII. He decided to record his experience, in two thick binders, with stories and photos and relics, to save for his daughters.
They will always have memories of their father, and his experience during Vietnam.
Sharing one human life experience brings healing and clarity.