– by Louise Ragin
Writing for me is another form of expressing my emotions, my faith, my thoughts, challenges, accomplishments, aspirations, and my being.
I am generally a calm, quiet, reserved, low key person who enjoys pleasant surroundings, people and activities around me. I enjoy surroundings at this time of years when I see the beginning of spring. The leaves in the trees beginning to show their various multi colored and mixture of sizes, small and large.
I see how they grow together and complement each other. I enjoy seeing the sturdiness of the trees that have been planted so many years ago and are still standing tall and sturdy. The birds flying all around them, the squirrels climbing up and down hiding their findings of nourishment from the ground.
I enjoy seeing the sun shining down on me and others, peeking through the array of trees. My emotions are to celebrate and embrace every moment of all the things that I see and appreciate today that I sometimes may have taken for granted.
As I prepared to write this article, I had no idea of what to write about. I looked at the pad I was about to write on and all I could see were blank pieces of paper. Again I questioned, what should I write about? My response was, write something from your heart.
My emotions started me to write about how thankful I am to have this opportunity to express some positive emotions that I am so thankful for seeing, feeling, understanding, hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting the elements of life. I can see the landscape of the beautiful display is greenery. I can smell the fragrance of the flowers as they blossom.
I can hear the birds chirping their songs of delight as they fly above communicating with each other. I can feel the different textures of the leaves and flowers. I can appreciate all these wonders of God and how unique nature is.
Writing is a challenge but when I write from my heart I share my uniqueness with others in the hope that it will inspire and be a blessing to those who read it.
Journal writing is something I have been doing for many years. It is not only relaxing but it helps me to de-stress. It helps to develop and build and examine my writing skills, and my accomplishments, what is positive or negative in my life.
I am blessed to minister to senior citizens at my church. They have such a rich history, legacy that has been overlooked and may be forgotten if it is not recorded or written now while they can still remember. I encourage them to share and write about their experiences in their life.
During Black History, Month, we celebrate at the church. One of the activities are to have each senior citizen tell their story about growing up in their place of origin which may be in the South, North, Africa, Jamaica, Haiti or wherever it may be. They all have a story to tell from their childhood to this day. They share where they lived, their siblings, their marriage, their children, their grandchildren, and their occupation.
After hearing their many stories, I suggested that they begin to write their stories in a booklet I provide for them. There was some initial hesitation and reluctance at first, but with my coxing they began to overcome their anxiety. I encourage them to write from the heart. Telling their story and putting it in writing has now became an outlet for them to express themselves. They shared the schools they attended, how they walked to the schools that were miles away from their homes. They expressed how dedicated they were to their family and their church.
They experienced discrimination practices throughout their lives. They honor their Christian journey based on their family teachings. All these memories are still very vivid in their minds and serve as a coping, healing mechanism that brings them comfort.
I have suggested to our senior citizens that they take the time to write as many of their historical journeys as they can remember and share them with their families and friends. Their children would then have first-hand account of who they are.
I know how challenging it is to write about oneself because you have to look within and bring to the surface many things that may have been suppressed. I know from my experience, writing has become a healing process. I have developed my writing skills by writing from my heart. My hope is to share with others what I have learned by my experiences, the themes that have evolved, the self-development that appears, the formation of my written voice. I use my skills of listening and observation to gather information for writing from the heart. This leads to getting to know more about myself, the culture and society I live in.
I’m still exploring and celebrating each day of life. I anticipate all the stories that are waiting to be written. I enjoy writing. It is no longer something that I dread. I have learned to express myself through my inner voice. I choose to share my inner voice with others and I am rewarded by accomplishing something that is real and matters to me and hopefully to others, because it comes from the heart.