Allegory is a powerful way of using story to illustrate ideas about true things. This is a conversation in stilted exchanges—the way we used to communicate in letters, telegraphs, postcards and emails, between one who is lost and searching for the other and one who is calling the other home.
I would write you a letter, with ink and pen on thick paper that feels good in your hands. I'd like to leave the weight of my words with you, a deep impression on the page. I'd like to know you received it, took it into your hands, ran your fingers over the postage and came to understand I'm telling you the story so far, as far as I know it.
These words would be fragile and soft but in reading them, you'd forget being lost and make your way home. I'd make a roadmap of words from here to tomorrow, to guide us 'til we arrive. You homeward bound and me, reaching for you. Laid out in lines on a page full of humour, sorrow and life.
Each story we know, every secret and joke written in ink for keeping. I've come to believe life is a series of chapters you can read out of order because nothing will make sense until the end. As I'm sitting out in the moonlight and waiting for you to come home now, I'm waiting for the right words too.
I know some things will be fine by the end of the book. But some won't and I'm searching for words to tell you in advance how sorry I am for the small things I've ruined by asking too much or when I couldn't give you enough. I'm grieving for what is lost, what is left in my hands, what we counted on and what I've kept to myself when I could've opened my heart.
In the beginning there are words. Words that in their being brought earth, stars and all creation into being with them. Words shaped land and ocean, sky and heavens, placed stars into atmosphere and drew water out of springs in the earth to water the ground. The ground that would bloom into life, and the walking, breathing life that lived upon the earth to eat from the blossoming of the earth. All this came from words.
At the end there are always words. They are heavy with sadness and loss, trying to bring meaning to repeated breath and motion that make what we call life. Words that make small triumphs from failures and can change the purpose of a life from smallness to greatness in death.
Words are powerful here too. When the silence becomes an ache, the ache an emptiness and the emptiness cannot be filled, words anchor, restore, comfort and sustain until the last word of farewell is spoken. Hope remains and life endures in the breath and phrases we use to define the ones we lose.
You, I do not intend to lose. My words are constant and true. Trust in their steady and enduring wait. I will write you a map home, your words like firedust in my sight. I hear you calling.
The Writer Lost
Don't ask for my body without my mind. Ask me for a kiss of syllables, consonants and round, deep vowels. I will slowly form phrases from the infinite depth of my heart which cannot find sharper or truer gift to give you. Words are less fleeting than feeling and hold their shape in the invisible ether. You cannot make dull mean sharp no matter whether you write it on paper or say it aloud.
My words contain everything of myself. Why do I find a deep sense of home in listening to words that roll from your tongue in apathy to my need of them? Our words together seem like a dance where one is never certain of the other. The orchestra slips ahead, like salmon darting upstream, always dragging us behind, always lost in thinking of a lyric for the bars that we pass by.
My words speak my heart aloud and fly up into the air, resting on shadows and clouds, sliding down raindrops back into puddles at my feet. Sometimes I do not recognise my heart as it comes broken back to me, yet drawn to these fragments I piece together a strange jigsaw puzzle of a poem.
Some words hesitate me for hours, fixing me in place until proven true or untrue. 'Beautiful' can trip me up for hours, words like 'father' bog me in delay. Others are deep, sapphire pools of the ocean and entice me to play. I am playing, waiting, delaying but really now—I have become lost and have need of a new map.
I will send out my words like the breath of the wind and even lighter, in every atom of the air. They sit like art upon the page, they will fly soaring when spoken. Can you hear me calling to you now? I fear forgetting the timbre of your voice cutting shapes into the night with your words.
Mine are arrows that fly from my heart to yours, along an invisible string that binds itself tightly to you. Yours are cool water when thirsty and lamplight in the desert. Hard to find when travelling.
Originally published on tashmcgill.com
Tash McGill is a digital strategist by day. That means helping people make smart decisions about all things digital. Her passion is people and communicating ideas that shape our world, especially the world of young people. Formerly a youth worker and theologian, Tash is passionate about identity and spiritual formation alongside a healthy dose of hospitality.
Tash McGill's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/tash-mcgill.html