When I was around the age of four, I began developing chronic sickness that caused me to spend a good amount of time at Goodlettsville Pediatrics. Every few months, for many years, mother would drag me there, allowing me to latch on to my rubber Aladdin doll and drink out of the small container of apple juice found in the lobby’s mini fridge. Appointments were mostly harmless in nature and they almost always meant a trip to the Rivergate Barnes and Noble we’d pass on the way home. She’d buy me a handful of books of which I would devour on the drive home, only to be replaced at the next month’s doctor’s visit.
On one such occasion, I came across a pen with a quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald.
The reason one writes isn't the fact he wants to say something. He writes because he has something to say.
I found the pen in my stocking later that year.
Tonight, I think I have to sit back and disagree with ol’ Fitz, however clever and creative he might be. Tonight, on this Sunday, I don’t know that I have anything of deep significance to say. It is more so a sort of need to say something. To let some sort of breathe out. To exhale all of the weeks and weeks of thoughts and worries and pursuits.
Sundays in Cleveland, particularly my Senior year, meant getting up with the sun and immediately reading some critical analysis of Jude the Obscure or Native Son or whatever other novels I was reading at the time. My last semester, I read twenty eight novels and wrote far over one hundred pages of text; This explains my almost complete nervous breakdown. Around eleven, I’d walk to the Science building on campus where my church met. Here, we’d discuss practical theology and pray and break bread with doughnuts.
My favorite Sunday mornings though, were when I set aside my books and papers for an early morning visit with my dear friend Christina. We called those mornings Lattes and The Lord, visiting at Starbucks–what was then the only coffee shop in town. We’d talk about ways we were being stretched and the week’s joyful moments. We’d catch up about Christina’s med school application process. We’d talk about the possibility of me moving to Denver after I graduated. We longed for the mountains. And at the end, we’d bring out the latest editions of National Geographic and read and discuss the various articles.
There was something about this Sunday morning that reminded me of those Cleveland days. Perhaps it was the way the light peaked in so eagerly at dawn or the way the air smelled of heavy, hot humidity.This morning, I stopped at Starbucks and spent a good amount of time writing. Breathing. Releasing. I thought about Christina and the recent email I got from her. She’s living in rural India near the village where her mother grew up. Every few months, when she is able to gain access to internet, I get a long and eloquently written update. She reminds me how beautiful the rice fields are. The hillsides and green trees and the smiles of the children that she teaches.
I went grocery shopping tonight and there, sitting at the checkout counter, was the newest edition of National Geographic. Inside are articles about Jane Goodall and hunger in America and the original Stone Henge. As I made my purchases, I threw it into the cart–knowing that today it was exactly what I needed.
Some days we don’t really have anything to say. We just need to say something.