Step Nine – Make direct amends to fellow writers, publishers, illustrators, family or readers that I may have harmed wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Last week we worked on reparation. Did you make amends for your wrongs? Did you find creative ways to repair harms you had done? Starting is not easy, but the journey becomes a joy once you discover the benefits of restoring your soul to the status it was meant to be in. Next Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday! What a Blessing! As you go about your list and make reparation to those you have harmed, others will be revealed to you. Healing is an ongoing process. Isn’t the Mercy of Jesus great! Lent is ending – the Resurrection has come, and Mercy is around the corner. Making reparation is not always easy. If you have faced rejection- unite that rejection to the rejection of Jesus. It is a healing process – well worth the journey.
Now is the time to make amends to you. It is often harder to see the harm you have done to yourself than the harm you have done to others. How have you harmed yourself as a writer? Have you put your writing last in your life? How will you make reparation to yourself? Have you been afraid to step up with courage and send your work out? What will you do to forgive yourself and step forward? Did you use false humility to talk down your gift? Were you afraid to ask for that review? Did you turn down that speaking engagement? The list of harms that you have done to yourself as a writer is endless. Forgive yourself and make reparation to yourself. Ask Jesus to open your eyes to the harms you have done to yourself as a writer. Now go forward to heal your relationship with the writer within you. Find creative ways to heal. Maybe you need to spend quality time writing or promoting your own writing. Maybe you deserve to go to that writing retreat or conference. Perhaps you should take that short story or novel and flood the publishing world with query letters. Be as careful and creative in making reparation to yourself as you were in making reparation to others.
This week, while I was saying the rosary, I was given an insight into the mystery of the Garden of Gethsemane. In His suffering, Jesus asked the Father if the cup of pain he was given to drink could be taken from him. He didn’t want the suffering he was given. He wanted to choose his own suffering. Don’t we do that? As writers, and as people, don’t we often create our own suffering rather than deal with the suffering we are meant to work through? Facing the suffering of our past is especially difficult. As children we used coping mechanisms that we carry over into our adult years. We may choose the suffering of addiction, to food or drugs or alcohol, etc., instead of working through the abuse we suffered as children. We may even hide our writing – allowing it to be ignored rather than fully experiencing the neglect we felt from our family. We can use the suffering we choose as a distraction from the need to fully feel and eventually forgive the suffering we didn’t choose in life.
We distract ourselves from the pain of the present also. Is the fear of facing the rejection we get as writers the suffering we can’t face? We can avoid it by reworking that story over and over again. Is the fear of attention to our work replaced by a false humility about our gift? Why is it that we writers do more harm to ourselves than others? We want to choose the suffering we can handle. Isn’t it easier to try another diet, go to another meeting, and choose our own failure, instead of living in the truth of the suffering we have been given. Let’s spend this week looking at the harm we have done to ourselves as people and as writers by trying to control our own suffering. Let’s ask God for the courage to take the cup we have been given.
We need to remember that the suffering cup we have received is the one God knows will lead to our resurrection. Personally, and in our work, we need to face the cup we are given and work our painful way through it. That will lead to our own Easter. We are followers of the Cross. As we walk through the pain of isolation and dismissal we need to know that He is with us. As we face the fear of ridicule and dismissal, we need to carry that cross, face that suffering and arise from the grave. Let’s take our cup and follow Our Savior. We have a mission of writing as He had a mission of Salvation.
So this week look at how you have harmed yourself and your writing career. Look at the distractions and suffering you have chosen instead of the suffering you were meant to work through. This week, make reparation to yourself! Next week we will move on to the next step in becoming the writer you were meant to be!
Karen Kelly Boyce is a mother of two and grandmother of two who lives on a farm in N.J. with her retired husband. She and her husband love to camp and take ‘road trips’ around the country. She has published four novels and three children’s books. Her website is www.karenkellyboyce.com