Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: DIARY (05/16/19)
TITLE: Write Ugly
By Lori Othouse
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I didn’t intend to, but my mind was racing and the words started spitting out like darts. Words I don’t like to use. Ugly words. Ugly, but entirely true.
This wasn’t what I envisioned a few months ago when I started keeping a diary, or rather, a journal. That’s what they’re called now, right? As I first cracked open the leather binding, I had dreams of sitting at the beach at sunrise, steaming coffee in one hand and the other writing beautiful poetic lines that would soon be discovered by the world. That’s what writers do, don’t they?
Aside from the fact that I’m not now, nor have I ever been, a morning person, those brilliant sunrise writing sessions never happened. And very little of what I’ve written would I call “poetic”. Instead, my overpriced, customized-with-my-name-on-it diary/journal/emotional outlet was filling up with stories about traffic, money, the boss, weight struggles, and annoying people in general. Shallow? Probably, but it felt good to let off steam without fear of consequences.
It felt good, until this morning (8:37 a.m., as close as I ever got to that sunrise) I looked back through my entries and had a not-so-subtle moment of self-realization. What I had intended to be an artistic collection of thoughts, hopes and dreams was little more than selfish rants about the least important matters of life. I was embarrassed. Even more so when I realized that the entries were a sad parallel to my own life – random, inconsistent, sarcastic and, in a strange way, phony. I was carrying hurt and anger from those who had wronged me and was safely (so I thought) taking it out on everyone and everything else. Why had I not seen it before?
At that moment, I decided to get real. No more scribbling about how it rained on my day off or the price of gas or my nosy neighbors. I dug deep and went to a place I didn’t like to go. An ugly place. I jumped right back in to the middle of the pain I had been suppressing for so long. Just purposely went there with an amount of reckless abandon that surprised even me. And it hurt. It hurt a lot. I admit, I almost jumped right back out, but managed to grit my teeth and stay there while those old emotions bubbled up and overflowed.
Then I started to write.
Bold, angry strokes of how this one was never there for me. Barely readable words of how it felt when that one left. Line after line of the damage caused by the careless, cruel words of someone else.
I wrote blinking through the tears, through my quivering lips mouthing words I had longed to say as well as words I was afraid to say. Writing them down made them real, somehow, and it was scary. But I wrote on, my raw emotions screaming onto the pages for over two hours.
It was angry.
It was heartbreaking.
It was ugly.
But, it was real.
When I finished, emotionally drained, I glanced over to another book, my Bible. When I was little, I used to call it God’s diary. What irony - mine was filled with such ugliness and His was filled with such love. It was then that a new revelation came to me. Just as my diary (now) was filled with my deepest, truest thoughts and emotions…so was His. His heart, like mine, poured out on these pages:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love…” *
“Great is Your faithfulness…” **
“Joy for mourning…” ***
Beauty for ugliness.
I wept again, not for my own pain, but for the overwhelming gratitude of a Savior that loves me enough to let me see the beauty and reality of His heart, His love, on paper. To hold in my hands the answer to all my needs and the greatest love letter of all time. To let me read His diary. And to know that it’s all about me.
* Jeremiah 31:3
** Lamentations 3:23
*** Isaiah 61:3
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