Where is that sweet spot? That place that challenges me to stretch farther than I thought I ever would without being so far to break me? I would appreciate if that place was easier to find, to be aware of within myself, to dwell in.
Recently a friend asked me to write a poem for her husband. I know some would argue that all of what I write is poetry, just mostly in the form of prose. But I do not think of myself as a poet.
When I wrote the one poem I have published on this blog, I felt terribly out of my element. Poetry is outside the box and makes me squirm. Very risky business. I don’t think I have that intuitive gut that tells me how the words need to be broken up, where they ebb and flow to make just the right song.
And yet, there is something weighty in the freedom to express something without having to spell it out. To guess my way through something based on hunches and relying on instincts I didn’t think I had.
This was also the first time I tried to write something for someone else. What a privileged challenge to climb inside someone’s soul and try to figure out what is locked in their heart and express it on their behalf. Looking into her words to find what is behind them. Empathy and listening – strengths I live in as easily as I breathe – become a foreign. I am a novice once again. And it feels good to be so green.
She gave me her raw material and I just about died. Her heart of love for her husband, this life they have built together, the respect and honor for this man. This was sacred ground. How could I ever do this justice? I almost broke the entire time, but I also felt like I was flying. How can that be?
I have a draft. She may love it. She may hate it. I hope she feels free to be honest. No matter what the result, I am better for it. I didn’t look for it, I didn’t orchestrate it, but this was that sweet spot, making me wretchedly uncomfortable and wildly energized all at once.