A Holy Whisper
"A writer should write with his eyes and a painter paint with his ears"
Gertrude Stein

I grew up thinking that I wasn't smart.
The history textbooks were overwhelming.  The science terms might as well have been a foreign language for all I was concerned.  The actual foreign language, Spanish, got lost in translation.  I was told by an English teacher that I couldn't write well. And I certainly couldn't quite grasp what the woman in the black and white nun's habit was explaining on the green chalkboard.

Until she added music. 

Sister Rosa, a pint-sized nun, taught high school geometry in room 104.  I can still remember the hard wood floors and the view from the tall windows of a large lawn, filled with trees.  {Yeah, yeah, yeah...I was supposed to be focusing on learning but...I spent lots of time gazing out them!}  We were in the triangle unit and she sang a song as a method of teaching us the different kinds.  I can still hear the tune but needed my sister's help to remember the exact words. It was all gibberish to me until this song.

{It was to the Oscar Mayer song.  You know the one... cue the cute kid fishing  commercial}

If you have two sides the same, it is e..qui..lat...er..AL.
If you have not any sides the same, it's always called Scalene.  (pause.....)
But the one that ends up hard to spellllll....two sides the same, you know... it.. welllllll......
(Long pause)
Its I-S-O-S-C-E-L -E-S....and its isosceles.

I GOT IT!  I understood math.  Well, triangles...and for that chapter only.  But I got it.  It was like the gates of heaven opened and angels were singing...not just one nun. ;)  I saw the drawings on the board AND heard a 
rhythmic song that clarified it.  My brain's gears that usually were clanging against each other were, finally, smoothly fitting together in their movement!  I needed both my eyes and ears...in a different way that others... to learn.  

I didn't realize it at the time, but this was the first time I felt truly smart.  But that feeling passed quickly.  I talked myself out of it.  I couldn't be smart. I struggled in all other classes. I got so-so grades. I didn't like the academic part of school. I had lots of very smart {National Honor Society} friends who I felt dumb in comparison to. I let myself.... my insecurities...get in the way.
And I have done it again lately.

Years ago my brother told me that I should start a blog.  "It will help your business.  People like to 'know an artist', not just buy their art" he said.  Inside my head I thought "He is nuts!  I can't write.  I always stunk at writing.  I am not a writer."  But I found a small seed of courage within me and tried it.  And loved it.
Was it amazing writing?  Nope.  
Was it novel worthy?  Not at all.  
Were thousands of people reading it?  Oh, HELL no!!  
But was it introspective?  From the heart?  Inspired and inspiring?  I think so.

I wrote 1-2 times/month for a few years.  I only wrote when inspired.  But I was always looking for moments that would trigger a new entry.  My mind was always looking at things and considering what deeper meaning they had.  It happened quite often.  

Until recently.

I have felt a bit lost.
I have been thinking that not many people read it so why bother.
I have been telling myself I am not a good writer.
I have been letting myself...my insecurities... get in the way.  

Until today.

Today is a day when people I love dearly celebrate the life of their daughter... sister... friend who passed away WAY too young, when she was a bright, sunny teenage girl.  Every year, in February, they ask that everyone join them in the celebration of her life by wearing purple.  Today was the day!  I took our family's "Purple for Nat" photo this morning and posted it on Instagram and Facebook.  In one of the comments I gave a link to a previous blog post that I wrote along with Natalie's oldest sister, Ashley, a few years ago.  Not long after I received a sweet message from another bright, sunny teenage girl. She wanted to thank me for writing it.  It had helped her make sense, for the first time, of a recent loss in her own life.  She said she was "grateful for how God uses me".

It was like a holy whisper."

It was saying "See? You are smart.".
It was saying "Your words don't need to reach many, just one.".
It was saying "Get out of your own way...and write.".

I spent the remainder of the morning in a bit of a fog.  I couldn't concentrate.  I needed air.  I got in my car and went to run errands.  Something sacred happened on that drive.  I saw a construction project and instead of seeing ugly steel beams I saw evidence of something modern being constructed around a historic building.  I saw the converging of antique and contemporary.  I saw a beautiful image that MADE ME WANT TO WRITE!
I had gotten out of my own way. 

I am painter who LISTENS to peoples stories and makes them come alive with typography.
I am a writer to SEES moments in the mundane day that are imagery of life's soulful lessons.
I am a woman who is allowing God to use her, humbly and imperfectly.

I grew up thinking I wasn't smart.
I spent much of my young adulthood thinking I wasn't smart.
I used to assume that I wasn't smart enough to be a good writer.

Until now. 

May you find your own Sister Rosa to sing you a song to help you understand the things that are difficult.
May you SEE and HEAR her and realize that you are smart {or able, or beautiful, or just plain ole' ENOUGH}.
May you get out of your own way.

February 20, 2015 — Sarah Stevens


Kimberly SerendipityRefined

Kimberly SerendipityRefined said:

Sometimes all we need is enough silence to “hear”…and enough space to “see”. I’m grateful that you were inspired today and that you chose to share it. There are always those who need what we have to offer…even when we don’t know it. I’m thankful for you.

Carol Fricke

Carol Fricke said:

There is a difference between smart and wise. Personally I think you are both. I am glad you are getting out of your own way! <3

Carl Wilke

Carl Wilke said:

I enjoy reading blogs that are heartfelt, honest and inspirational. You capture all three nearly every time you write. It’s easy to get caught up in looking at numbers or average clicks or whatever. For me, it’s not about that but rather about writing because I enjoy it. It’s creating a record of what I was thinking at that particular point in my life. Something that my children can look back on and get to know me a little bit better. I think your writing allows others (family, friends, customers, strangers) to get a clearer idea of who you are. Keep writing and embrace your uniqueness.

Deniece Schmidt

Deniece Schmidt said:

I read your blogs and I think you are an anaximg writer because it transparently comes from your heart. Would never have ever thought you would have felt inadequate. We all do, though. So impossible to not compare ourselves to others and feel as though we don’t measure up. Keep writing my friend-you are amazing!

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