Friday, January 17, 2014

Why words matter

photo credit

We sit in a booth at the Cup and Saucer in Portland, snatching a few bites of breakfast between words tumbling out fast, back and forth.  I'm more hungry for conversation than the food sitting on my plate, because I've been waiting for this for nine months.  This friend I met only one time before but have grown to love through our exchange of words and hearts, we lean in close and speak of transitions and journeys of healing, home and family, friendships and marriage - and of course, writing.  

She looks me in the eyes and admits she needs to dig deeper to the Why of her writing, beyond the "call" to write or the "I write because I must."  And I nod my head while my heart breathes, Yes

It's so easy to consider giving up when we don't know why our words matter.

As we continue to share our journeys, our stories, I see we are passing these balls of yarn back and forth, in and out, lines and weaves of color forming, outlines of Whys spread between us.  The more I share my story with her, the more the weave emerges, until the words string color from my mouth.

I know I write to tell the whole story, not just the "I used to be here but look! Now I'm here and I overcame all that!" I write the I'm-in-the-midst-of-the-cave-right-now story, the dark and the cloudy story, the tears in my eyes and heavy wrestling for hope, even when - no, especially when - I can't see traces of beauty yet. 

But why?

I tell her the story of how, just the other day, I'm driving in Seattle with a view of the Olympic mountains rising on my left, the sky alive in the crisp blue and bursts of sun.  How in that moment, it hits me so clear: I'm happy to be alive again.  I've been flying through a dark, dark cloud for so long and I've finally emerged into daylight, and as the sun hits my eyes, I tell her, it's even more beautiful than I remember.  Coming from dark to light is this way, isn't it? 

And here, it comes tumbling out.  I write this way because the light of hope, the beauty of redemption, is more glorious when it's birthed from the dark.  When we see the fuller picture, not chopped into pieces, but one seamless, messy, wondrous story.  

To inspire hope, that nothing is beyond the grasp of redemption when our stories are not our own, but his.  

Yes, it's tucked right here: I write to lay the trail of God's fingerprints across my life.  And that is enough for me.

. . . . . . . . 

Linking up with Lisa-Jo for a (not) Five-minute Friday post.  Today's prompt: "Why your words matter."  


  1. that's an encouraging piece to read, so glad I stopped by from FMF. :)

    Annette @ A Net In Time (

    1. I'm grateful these words encouraged you, Annette. Thanks for stopping by :-)

  2. Oh my goodness, Amber - that is so beautifully written. thank you for sharing your heart!!

    1. Mom, this means so much to me - thank YOU! I feel so loved when you read what I write.

  3. I have been pondering the why a lot as well. My why is because the words need spilling. I fill and I fill and they need a place to empty out to. It is also to know I am not alone and to let others know the same. It is one thing to tell the story of from here to there tied up neatly in a bow, but it is quite another to tell the story of the getting to the there, the being in the midst of it deep and never fully knowing if there is even a place, but hoping that it is and that you will find it.

    It is a deep bravery I think to tell this story, because it is now and in the moment. It is an opening of all that is raw and holy and messy and sinful and pouring it out like an offering upon an alter. Your writing is a place where other cave dwellers can meet for community around the bon fire of your words and find acceptance and grace and to say "Yes, somewhere, someday we will come to the mouth of the cave and find the light shining beautiful into our blinking eyes."

    It is a place where those outside the cave can say "We are out here and we will wait for you, it exists, this there is real and when you make it we will rejoice along with you for the journey."

    Oh friend how I love you and your words and your blinking in the light of there and for the days of caves and darkness and for being a bon fire for others like me to warm ourselves around.

    You are cherished friend.

    1. Karmen, you bring me to tears. Your response here, from your heart, is so beautiful I don't even know how to touch it with my own words. One of the things I love about you, friend, is your brave heart that in all its rawness and messy and holy, you keep spilling out. You're right, I think, that it is a different kind of brave to tell the story without really knowing when or if there is a "place" but holding hope there is and sharing your way as you journey to there. I am saving these words you shared, Karmen, because they are precious and they remind me, too, of the different people I love on different ends of the Why, in and out of the cave, and how much I treasure you.

  4. Stopping by from FMF in response to your comment on my blog that you thought you got confused on the prompt. After reading this, I don't think so. You have captured the essence of encouragement -- friends, coming together to talk life and writing, sharing their ups and downs, shoring each up other up, telling about epiphanies in their lives. If that's not encouragement, then I don't know what is. And so beautifully written! Amber, you have a gift!

  5. My friend! My dear precious Amber! The only thing that's kept me from commenting before now is that I never seem to sit at my computer long enough, and my phone and iPad don't do comments here. Argh. Anyway, all that to say that I've read this and have thought so often of this gift of your words..and more, of your presence - whether face to face or across the table. And your heart. You helped me understand my messy self better in the booth at Cup & Saucer that day. You help me now as I read and re-read your words. You do have a gift, dear one, and you bless as you bring your offering and shine the light on this step in your journey right here. One of the greatest answers to the "why" of all this writing/blogging journey is you. My friendship with you is a tremendous gift in my life. I love you.