As promised, my first book is now available for purchase! There's a link in the "Books" tab at the top of the page that will take German residents directly to Amazon.de and North American residents to Barnes & Noble to order online. I am still sorting through the best way for New Zealand residents to purchase it, but the book is already available on Aussie Amazon (and all other countries).
The purchasing details didn't come out how I expected, but lots of life hasn't. I'm so proud of this work because I know that Tessa and I collaborated to make something beautiful. I genuinely hope that every person who reads it will be inspired to create something new of their own. I genuinely don't know all that will come out of the release of this title. I do know that I'm still not at ease. I'm still working hard to listen to what the Lord is telling me each day, and I'm doing my best to complete my job with professionalism and grace, and I am growing in my ability to love others well.
The title of the collection of poems I published comes from the line of a poem a student wrote about this summer and shared with me. She graciously let me quote the stanza in my preface and use the line as the title of my book. I love so much about it because my season of writing poetry came as so much of my life was unsettled. I'm not yet settled into the new norm, and there's a lot of things unfinished and unknown as I head into tomorrow and the spring and the next year, but I've lasted this far.
My student's full line reads, "The river came fast, and I thought, 'We won't last!' But we did, and I'm still not at ease." She and I have reflected a lot on the changes in both of us through the past several months as we look to Jesus and realize we survive a lot more than we think possible. We also grow closer to God in the process, and by the grace of God learn to grow and be kinder and create beautiful things in the process.
A different collection of students were chatting with me on Friday, and I brought up the premise that my English professor once said only people who've experienced great trauma can become great writers. I disagree. But what I do agree with is that we can use our trauma to speak truth and motivate people to create beauty. This collection of poems was written not from the greatest trauma of my life, but it was begun when prose failed me after I first watched a student lash out at me amidst a pretty significant mental breakdown shortly and one of my close friends dealt with a personal trauma that I wanted to walk well alongside her as she processed and grew.
Prose has always been my thing, and while I've certainly not abandoned it entirely, this venture into poetry has been significant and healing for me to still articulate and express layers of meaning when people wilfully misinterpreted me in other places. Since I'm notoriously bad at articulating feelings, poetry gave me space to process emotions.
In the mean time, life has carried on in the literal world, and I've meandered around lots of concrete stories in this strange season of teaching, walking, healing, praying, and maturing. There's plenty in my life I don't put on the internet, but there's also a whole lot of things I share in the hopes you'll join me in prayer. This past Friday I went in for the final fitting on my new wheelchair, and it's been approved and ordered at this point. I'm told to expect a 4-6 week wait until the chair actually arrives, but it's a huge relief to have that hurdle finished.
There were a lot of huge relief moments this week in the balm for my soul that morning coffee with Alyssa was, dinner with Lizi, or just passing comments from Lauren. I also had so much laughter with my students as several of them have added elaborate plans to a wedding ceremony between me and a cardboard cutout of Daveed Diggs. One of the wild details of my student planned wedding was almost getting Utah the Movie to play at the ceremony - unfortunately, one of the band members asked to be a security guard instead. So while I'm still not at ease about so many things in my life, I can rest in the truth of my identity, and I hope that you'll read my poetry and be inspired to learn your identity and create something beautiful like so many of my students do.
I don't know how the unsorted bits of my life will all work out, or what exciting news I'll have to share next week, but I know that I'll keep my eyes on Jesus and be excited about the Savior who names me. (I also told the students yesterday about how Moana is the Gospel message, and after I summed up the story for the kid who hadn't seen it, he totally guessed the connections to Jesus seeing our true selves and naming who we were meant to be when our messes cover us and make a mess.)