When the Words Won’t Write
Rev. Joy Mounts, Associate Minister
During my recent recovery from carpal tunnel surgery on my right hand, I was not able to hold a pen. At the risk of being called a dinosaur, I admit that I am a writer who likes to write longhand for many of my tasks. For me there seems to be a creative connection between writing by hand and pouring my words onto the paper. That is not to say I don’t do much of my writing on a computer as well. But when I want to remember something, I usually write myself a note. And when inspiration strikes, I often reach for a pen and paper first.
So it was more than frustrating when during my recovery I found that I had a lot of trouble simply holding a pen, never mind writing with it. The surgeon and my occupational therapist both said it would take time for my hand function to come back fully. But I was in shock. It was as if I could not express myself in some deeper way, as if poems were bottled up inside with no outlet. I could not even sign my name.
I had two choices — be annoyed about it or follow the exercises and let my hand rest and heal. I decided to do the latter. But it was hard. I often reached for a pen to capture some fragment of thought, or question, or reminder or poem, only to find I could not write. I tried using the dictation on my iPad but it’s autocorrect had me in stitches. Slowly my hand returned to normal. I was relieved. I felt myself again.
It caused me to reflect on the barriers that keep us from expressing ourselves, especially when it comes to prayer. What are the things that distract us, make us uncomfortable, keep us from truly saying what is on our hearts? Prayer should be the one place we let down our guard and let the words flow. But often we stop ourselves. What are we afraid if? That we won’t be loved or listened to? That God will turn away?
God will not. We are loved and listened to. We need to trust and take God at God’s word. Prayer is our time together with God. It may take time to let down our guard and truly open our heart, but it will lead to a deeper relationship with God. We can’t help putting those barriers in place, but removing them can be a glorious and freeing feeling. If at times, you want help with this, may I suggest the bi-monthly Adult Studies classes on meditation and prayer, where we are all journeying together.