From Blank to Beautiful

Last night I wrote in my sleep.

It happens sometimes. It’s not clear as a bell, but I have an inkling of an idea, maybe even a few words. I might gather them over days, months or several turning seasons. I jot them down, little scribbles on scraps of paper all over the house, in my purse, on receipts in my car. After all, I am a collector.

But this time was different. I woke up in the dark with complete sentences, but I didn’t write them down. I smiled and went back to sleep.

Now, in the early morning hours the blank page was calling me. Turns out, you were calling me and today is the day we become friends. Today is the first day of White Pitchers, a little spot in the world to be filled up and maybe to be poured out.

Why today? Well, plain and simply, it was time. But also because a collection of authentic people gathered in Portland under the wide open sky called "From Blank to Beautiful". For 48 hours this community of storytellers spoke and painted and sang and wrote and visited. Each from their corner of the world, in the beauty of their orginal design, with their own voice, to the glory of God and told me there was room for me at the big farm table. They dared me to be myself, my true self, my handcrafted, God-designed, Jesus-filled, broken-in-pieces, coppertop, freckle-faced, Terri-self. No one else could do that for me.

I held their challenge in my soul nest. The freckled shells were cracking open. I have written stories and not called myself a writer. I have been writing poems and not calling myself a poet. It was time to fly.

"We learn courage by couraging."

This I learned from Brene Brown. Now I am putting wings to those words.

I sat in the dirt under a tree watching the petals twirl in the wind and tapped out this poem. I would not share in the classroom that day, but I give it to you now. Here it is just as I wrote it under the tree.

This April Place

I walked right by
One red leaf under the maple tree
A teardrop shape fallen in the dirt
And wondered who am I?
Who am I that he should notice
Where my boots hit the sidewalk
In an asphalt sea
Where a gosling sat to nest
Like it was the beautiful lake
Where we picnic
A perfect spot to stop and rest
In a room full of siblings
No longer strangers to me

Then the wind came to remember
Blowing chill through the leaves
Through the long grass blades
To my blank page like September
When fall comes home
And the gosling finds her way
To be herself
To be true
And what she wants to say
Where her own corner turns
And what holds her sway

My boots are scuffed
For where I have been
For the footprints I have left
For coming home again
My scars are mine
Given to me
In this April place
A year of broken hearts
Long nights in the waiting halls
Of mint green walls
Only to find hard grace

Thank you everyone at Faith & Culture Writers Conference for inspiring me to be brave.