My Sissy (sister)Paula asked me a question tonight:
What is the story of your heart?
And honestly, I couldn't say. I don't think I have one big, yummy story, though that would make life simple. I'd write it, using beautiful penmanship, with one of those markers that smell like grape kool-aid. I'd sign it with a flourish when I get to "the end", only I can't seem to get there at all. Sometimes I wonder if my big story has even began, of if it exists at all.
Certainly I see how my own fascinations show up in my work again, and again. When I write ragamuffin diva, there is often a theme of something being lost, then found. This doesn't surprise me, as that was my first wound. I was a lost soul, separated from God. I have that God-shaped vacuum, like we all do, only mine is one of those heavy duty Oreck vacuums that can pick up a bowling ball. I was also separated from my mother as a baby. I always missed her. I remember the grief weighing on my toddler shoulders, rounding their tiny parameters with a burden no child should have to bear. To this day, I am still hunched, a battle scar that speaks of my longing. I still long for my Mama, even though she is only a phone call away. Maybe I long for what we missed.
Biracial people always appear in my work, no doubt revealing some dichotomy I experience within. I am not biracial, but I my skin is the color of Brach's caramel squares, and I come from an incredibly color struck family. My great grandfather demanded that we not darken his family blood line, which all the women of my family, myself included, promptly ignored, marrying the most luscious cocoa brown colored men we could find, but maybe grandpa's voice whispers his own torment to me, and I keep writing people who are black *and* white, and wondering how much of both and all, we all are.
Even if He is quiet, there is always Jesus, often showing up in an astounding Love. When skies are clear in my soul, I write Him straight, a laughing Savior, a loving Daddy, a Friend that sees--really sees me, or a Friend that rebukes, leaving the hand He spanked, adorned with a tiny gold ring (Proverbs 25:11;12 the Message). Either way, it's good to write God as Friend.
When skies are gray within, Jesus is often in the gentle talk of a lover in my fiction. He leads me to Himself via wild desire, a fire blazing, drawing me to my perfect Other. He is soft brown eyes that consume me. He is the tender touch that *does* honor me, and always, at long last. He is the Hero Beloved, come to rescue me, and to Him, I am altogether lovely. I see this again and again, and I'm tempted to think that here is my story. But it's not that simple.
Eugene Peterson, in Living the Message, says "The gift of words is for communion. We need to learn the nature of communion. This requires the risk of revelation--letting a piece of myself be exposed, this mystery of who I am. If I stand here mute, you have no idea what is going on with me. You can look at me, measure me, weigh me, test me, but until I start to talk you do not know what is going on inside, who I really am. If you listen, and I am telling the truth, something marvelous takes place--a new event. Something comes into being that was not there before. God does this for us. We learn to do it because God does it. New things happen then. Salvation comes into being; love comes into being. Communion".
Amen Eugene. So when I tell stories, maybe I am just doing what God is teaching me. Maybe it is just about handing you the Bread and the Wine, and asking you to partake with me. And as I told Paula, maybe it isn't my story, or the story of my heart at all. Maybe it is all His story, and here we are, writer and reader supping together, and then reader becomes writer on the comments page, and we all share in the communion which is His body and His blood, broken for us. Salvation and love come into being, and we are nourished, and made bigger than we were before. It's a marvelous God thing.
God does this for us.
I'll meet you at the table, gentle reader, when I get to savor the vintage wine from your cup, again, and taste the sweet bread of fellowship you offer, melting in my mouth, mingling like jazz and slow dances, with the sweet juice of the fruit of the vine. I offer this, and all of these blog entries to you: the stories raga tells, my communion, and I hope and pray you find them good.
I love you. You can't possibly know how much.