(This is the ninth article in a series by Stories To Tell editor/designer Sarah Hoggatt recounting her experiences in publishing her poetry and nonfiction.)
When I started writing this book, Finding Love’s Way, I did it without knowing where I was going. I wrote about whatever caught my attention or the words and thoughts I needed to get out. I let myself go without concerning myself about where it would end up. It’s much like starting a journey without planning where you’ll go but taking one step at a time. Some may call this poor planning and they may be right. But my poetry is, first and foremost, an expression of me and my relationship with God. It’s honest and open and real. If I planned the larger story out, I believe it would come across as faked and unsubstantial. So I let it go knowing I would look back later to find the way I went.
I’m now at a stage where I’m doing this looking and finding the over-arching story. Having the title has helped immensely with this process. It’s given me a point to the journey and now I can go back and retrace my steps in order to find out how I got here. What have I struggled with? What did I learn through those experiences? What have been my joys along the way? Where is the path through the hills I created with the tread of my feet?
I have the pieces I need and what I find to be missing I’ll be able to fill in. It’s like one giant puzzle with each poem being a piece of the larger picture. What is that picture? How does the journey lead to the point of it all?
Perhaps the poems are more like a labyrinth with all it’s twists and turns. A labyrinth is a single circuitous path that winds around back and forth in the larger shape of a circle until it reaches the center. Learning to love unconditionally is much the same – it’s never a straight path – it’s filled with some of the same lessons over and over again each a little different yet so much the same. There are joys like candles as we walk as God lights our way. Just as God is in all of the labyrinth and not just in the center, so God is in all our experiences of love no matter what labels we put upon them. Love is far, far more than the “good feelings” we usually equate it with. Love is a bond, it connects us. We’re all living in it, walking the journey on the same road but going all different directions. Love is making way for another person, love is honoring their journey even if they seem to be going a different direction than us most of the time. Love is the most real thing there is.
This is what I want the book to stand for. This is what I want the book to proclaim. This is what I want my life to proclaim. If I can communicate some of that reality of love through the written word and make even one person more aware of it, more aware of the joy and importance of love, it will have been worth it. It will have all been worth it.