The Truth of the Unfolding

“I want to unfold. Let nothing in me hold itself closed. For where I am closed, I am false. I want to be clear in your sight.” – Rilke

Abby tells stories that are true.

When you ask me about my writing, the blog posts, about my manuscripts, the books in my heart, the ones in my dreams. If you ask me about the thread that runs one book to the other, it is the only answer I have.

Abby tells stories that are true.

I don’t know why this is it for me. Why some write holy and broken, and others tell of our bodies and the beauty. Some are given suffering, and other are give a radical life for a radical message. Me?

I write stories that are true.

That is really all I’ve got. Perhaps that is why I have been struggling with the blogging as of late. My unfolded story, the story that is true? Right now, it isn’t pretty.

I’m dreaming again. I don’t try to do it that often, because it is just too risky. I am getting big ideas, figuring out what my next step is. I am querying agents again and getting rejected. I am re-writing, and re-thinking, and avoiding all of that by stuffing my face full of delicious carbs because I eat my feelings and sugar and white bread is what they are made of.

Dreaming always breaks something open inside of me. A longing for something that seems to constantly remain just out of reach. Hope hurts sometimes, as I pull it in and hold it close. It hurts to cut away the dead pieces. And it is even harder to let it all unfold in front of everyone.

But isn’t that the true part, the messy part, the part that never gets told?

I love the beautiful endings, the things so right they could only be orchestrated by God. I love the beauty of the final product. But isn’t the confused middle so much longer than the end everyone wants to talk about?

More and more I long for the truth of the middle of the story. I find myself googling words and phrases to get me to the diary pages of Madeline L’Engle or J.K. Rowling in the midst of their 100 combined rejections.

Abby writes stories that are true.

The truth is, I am grieving again. The death of my grandparents hit me in raw and unexpected ways this week. No one tells you this about grieving, that you are also grieving the part of yourself that is lost with the person that is gone. That it isn’t just the grieving of the person, but the kitchen you remember them in, the bench that was worn down soft by the butts of you and your gang of cousins, the way the light reflects into the window while you listen to your grandmother press the bacon  and holler about how much your boy-cousins are eating even as she makes sure there is enough bacon even for their seemingly unfillable bellies.

The truth is that these moments were buried with the ashes in the small-town cemetery, next to the cousin who was born the same year as you. All of those things are gone, and it is not enough to have these things exist only in your mind. But that is it. That is all there is, and the truth of it all is weighing heavy on my heart today.

I don’t want to write this, because it just feels hard. And really, I fear that people aren’t interested in my hard. I feel called to the unfolded life, and I am afraid of the unfolding. Even as I am continually affirmed in it. Even as I long for it. Even as I write through it.

This is the story that is true, I am afraid of the unfolding, I am called to the unfolded. I long for the unfolded life, but the unfolding is the hardest part.


13 thoughts on “The Truth of the Unfolding

  1. I understand the hard you are feeling with the loss of your grandparents. I learned to call these moments “grief bursts” and they will overwhelm the moment, and your day. Going to the warm place where the memories are good helps. When the love is so great, the grief seems to return at the oddest times.

  2. Abby,
    We see our truth as ugly at times but I think others see it as beauty because they know they are seeing real and people want real not a facade they can do nothing with. Real effects us all and when you write the good the bad and the ugly we all feel it deep in our souls for we all have hopes delayed, and yearnings unfulfilled and we all question why. So thank you Abby for letting us see you unfolded and often raw because as you work through the struggles on life they give hopes to others that they can too. We may lose the battle at times but if what we are fighting for is worth it then we must battle on regardless of the hope of winning for our life is spent on the battlefield not the awards ceremony.
    Keep bringing your stories for they need to be told and need to be heard.

    • Some have called moments of grief visits. Sometimes I think “My Mom would like to know about this. I think I’ll call her.” It is a visit. These visits become pleasant and fleeting.

  3. Pingback: The Unfolding and Unfurling | leigha cann

  4. I wish that I could hold your face right now and reassure you that there’s enough for you, truth and life are here in your words, friend. And, dammit, you are the probably the bravest person I know–cut yourself some slack and take up as much space as you need. Also, I kind of love that I just typed dammit ;0)

  5. a humble yes … i’m with you … the unfolding is the hardest thing … inhale deep the grace that comes, shrink not from the story folding and unfolding … it will be beautiful

  6. Unfolding brings with it a relaxation of all those things we hold tightly within us. It makes us open and vulnerable but isn’t it also a relief to say – this is who I am and this is what I am carrying today ? I too am trying to unfold – the picture of a butterfly emerging from a cocoon is in my mind so I’ll give it to you now.

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