It’s 11:30 PM on a Wednesday night. I am a second year medical student. I was in class from 8 AM to 5 PM and studied the rest of the day because I am beginning to prepare for my life-defining STEP 1 board exams. I have a final exam this Friday. I need to be up at 6 AM tomorrow.
I do not have time for this.
But isn’t that what I’ve been telling myself for the last five months? Isn’t that the reason the last blog entry I posted was in August of 2015? It’s not even 2015 now.
I have written this many times before, and I will do so again: I need to write. Perhaps I don’t need to write to survive, or even to do well in medical school, or enjoy a wonderful holiday season with family and my soulmate. Perhaps I don’t even need to write (at least not in this capacity) to be successful in my career or “change the world.”
But I do need to write to be completely me.
As I push into the late hours of the night, ignoring the voice in my head that tells me to go to bed so that I can get up early enough to go to the gym before class tomorrow, I feel it again. Maybe it is just relief from writer’s block, or euphoria at the end of a long day of being productive (at least by medical student standards). But, being me, I prefer to label it as something much bigger.
I receive a daily email from Father Richard Rohr, a Franciscan Catholic priest whose writings never fail to inspire me. Yesterday, Fr. Rohr wrote about love and divine intimacy. He wrote,”Fullness in a person cannot permit love because there are no openings, no handles, no give-and-take, and no deep hunger.”
We need love-from other humans and from the Divine- because we are incomplete. Or maybe we are incomplete so that we will depend on love. Either way, the message is clear: we need divine intimacy. As humans, we crave God. I believe that we all search for God and find God in different places. Call me a heretic, but I also happen to believe that many of these places are correct, even if they are not religious by common standards.
As I found myself compelled to write tonight, unable to sleep because something or someOne was tugged at my heart, I remembered the words of Father Rohr. And as I began to write, I felt myself caving in, opening up, breaking into pieces. I became vulnerable, like a flower that gets rained on or a puppy that opens its eyes for the first time. I felt my rough edges begin to be filed away. It felt like I’d found water in a desert.
When I write, I am able to reflect and remember and savor and wonder and imagine and relish in my gratitude for what is and what is to come. I am able to dream and hope and pray and beg and grieve and let go. I am able to emphasize moments in my life that are worth emphasizing and forget those worth forgetting. I am able to breathe and become the closest I’ve gotten to meditation. I feel accepted and cleansed and forgiven and embraced. I feel one again. How can this not be a form of divine intimacy?
I’m not implying that my words are sacred or even worth reading, but I do know that the process of writing them, for me, is a process that allows me to connect my intellect with my soul. And, somehow, this process always brings me back to God.
I will not make a resolution to write every day, for it should not be yet another task to check off my long to-do list. But I will allow myself to bask in the peace that writing gives me more often.