Proud of broken words

I remembered something today.

I’m probing my memories for fodder to write a spiritual memoir, something that might get published someday or may never, ever see the light of day. Swirling memories spin around like a Texas tornado gathering steam, but one caught me off guard.

A poem.

I remember writing it in seventh or eighth grade during my deeply depressed stage. It was a poem about suicide. I don’t remember all the words, but here are some:

about the emptiness, the questions of why

and

as I take this knife

Weird thing about the suicide poem: I was proud of it. Even then I felt this strange writer’s arrogance about my words, that they were worthy to be read, that they were beautifully strung together, though the subject matter was dark as all get out.

I was surprised when I shared my poem with a family member and got a “I don’t want to read this poem,” response. “It’s too dark and sad.” I honestly didn’t know what to make of it. Now of course I understand that the words reflected a deep worry for the state of my heart.

Funny how I hear the same words today, though. “Her books are too dark and sad.” Today, I still am proud of my words, though they may be dark. But something has changed. In my junior high years, I didn’t yet know Jesus. Life did seem bleak and painful. When I met him at fifteen and a half, I came face to face with hope. My words from that point on may have reflected grief, but always a streak of hope like pink airplane exhaust across a blue sky intersects the bleakness. That’s redemption, folks.