NOTE: Well darn it! I had my post all written and ready to publish on my designated day Thursday. I thought I had scheduled it to publish, but it did NOT publish on Thursday. Please forgive me for my post's lateness!
It's been an exciting, yet difficult, couple of months over here. I started my job as an addictions counselor, and was thrust head-first into the world of addicts.
Being LDS, I've spent most of my life trying to live in the world, but not of the world (John 15: 19). I've gone to great lengths to insulate myself and my family from the influence of Satan, and to keep my mind free from the darkness that sometimes permeates much of the world.
As I came home from a particularly hard day from work this week, I pondered my recent experiences in my new job. I've, in essence, jumped into that world I've tried so hard to avoid. Now, I'm experiencing the darkest, most vile parts of this world through my patients as they recount the horrors of their lives, and all the events that led up to their substance use. The cost is high for someone like myself who has been vigilant about trying to live a Christlike life. At times, it's as if my spirit is cowering in the recesses of my mind, shrieking in pain as if being poked by a hot iron. Other times, I feel as if I've fallen into a vat of tar. It takes every ounce of my energy to keep moving forward, helping those clients to process their experiences.
I know much of my struggle will eventually calm. The cuts will scab over, and be replaced by a thicker, more resilient skin. The shrieks will subside into whimpers, and eventually, somewhere down the road, to calm acceptance.
But in the mean time, I've been working desperately to find a way to cope. A way to come home and be present in the lives of my family. I don't like walking through the front door with my face still moist from tears. I abhor having to run directly up into my room when I haven't seen my children for twelve hours and asking for just fifteen more minutes before I can say hello to them.
So what do I do? How do I cope?
I write about those who stand up to the evil around them. I write comedies. I reflect upon the good things that have happened in my life, and the efforts my parents put into giving our family a good upbringing. I pour out my heart and soul onto page after digital page. Stories that will never be published, or even read by another living soul. I write to be reminded of all the good that is in the world. To be reminded that what I see as an addictions counselor is but a sliver of humanity.
Writing is this therapist's therapy. What was once a hobby, has now become my lifeline. And though my example is a bit extreme, I don't think I'm the only person who uses writing as therapy. I hear about it all the time among other writers. I find it fascinating to hear the stories of how writing has helped the lives of so many.
So what is story? Why do you write? I'm sitting here with my hands bridged under my chin, waiting for your answer. Please share!