Thursday, July 12, 2007

broken


i was looking through some of my old journals this morning, and i came across something i wrote almost exactly 13 years ago, the summer after i graduated high school. it isn't in the middle of another section or anything. it just says this:
when writing, one need not necessarily think about what to write, but rather, one should write what they think, so as to make a window for all readers to look though, to see the writer. no barriers. no boundaries. heartfelt strokes from the tip of a pen. passionate - not necessarily beautiful or insightful - just real. 7-10-94.
and so, taking my own advice, i write this blog 13 years later. sometimes i find myself trying to sound clever or interesting. but, for the most part, my desire is just to write. to explore. to be known and loved. to dialogue.
i am broken. anyone who knows me knows that. i'm pronce to every kind of selfishness. my storyline isn't always bright and straight. there are bends and shadows and sharp edges. there are broken places, broken hearts, broken relationships. my life, though often pretty clean on the outside, is as cloudy and cloaked as anyone's on the inside. it just is. i too often work too hard at trying to pretend that isn't true so i can be super pastor or super man or super dad or super son or super friend or super neighbor or super whatever. but i am not those super people. i am only me, bruised and broken, bloodied and bent on living.
and so i live on. broken, but breathing just the same. softened by grace, i continue to try my hand at loving and being loved. and part of that, for me, is writing - documenting all the steps of this journey: the trips to the doctor, the music, the other-worldly moments of feeling like my body is too small to feel all that i am feeling, the art, the images, the fights, the hopes, the fears, the boring times in between the dramatic ones. all of this is life, isn't it? and so i write about it. it helps me deal with it. it helps me be alive. it helps me be real and honest and vulnerable. it helps me come to terms with my brokenness, and maybe connect with you in your brokenness, too. i don't really want to be beautiful. or clever. or insightful. or impressive. or super. i just really want to be me. i hope that as i continue to discover what that means and share that with you, you find a little bit of what it means to be you.
peace to you.
greg.

4 comments:

edrew85 said...

Hey- I love your words. I can definitely relate to feeling broken, confused, lost... Thanks for sharing, sometimes I feel like the only one.

Also thank you for exploring life anyway, and pushing other people to really live through it too- despite feeling broken. Sometimes its easy to get down and retreat from living, but your writing always inspires me to go after living here and now.

I hope you're well and enjoying summer!

Eric

cathyq said...

Yes. Franz Kafka said, "A book must be an ice-axe to break the seas frozen inside our soul." That's what good writing aways doesL: touches us, breaks us, clarifies where we are, who we are and shouts out to our inner selves that we are not alone. I forget who said an unexamined life is not worth living; keep opening that window to show us.

Love you

mom

greg. said...

hey eric. thanks for stopping by and reading. i just want to continue to try and be the me i was made to be. it isn't usually all that pretty. but it is just real. and, i have to keep re-learning over and over again that therein is REAL beauty - not in the facade of presentation, but in the utter brokenness of reality. i keep learning this, and then conveniently forgetting to remember it.

mom -i love the kafka quote. i don't know much about him. i think that a good book does that, but, as a reader, i think we also have a responsibility to open ourselves to that. reading, like having a conversation, requires listening more than just hearing. it is one thing to read a book. it is another thing to really listen to it. know what i mean?

cathyq said...

Greg,

sure. Like reading the Chronicles of Narnia and really "getting into" them. Like wanting to romp with Aslan on the moutains above the world and cheer Puddleglum up and run "further in and higher up" with the kids. I tell my students that it is okay to not like a piece of literature; just know why you do or don't. React to it. Get into it. Feel it. Experience it. Don't ever just read it. Some of my students hated Metamorposis so much that they almost screamed at me when we started to discuss it! i was in heaven! I loved the emotional response it evoked in them. They felt it; they hated it; they wanted to yell about it. That's what good writiing (reading) can do. I ran into one of my former students when Mary and I were shopping on Thursday. He is a physics/engineering student at Pitt, but has developed an intense love of literature since graduating. He was so passionate about what he is reading right now (The Brothers Karmazov), and he is going to study at Oxford in the fall where he will be rooming on the same floor as C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien did. I am so jealous. He has found that there is so much Life and love and knowledge in Literature. I was so happy that he has discovered this pursuit. That is what it is like for me. I cannot just read; I must experience.