This I Believe

Natalina - Catonsville, Maryland
Entered on February 2, 2008
Age Group: 65+

Creative writing has been an awesomely spectacular part of my life dating back to teenage years when I discovered a wonderfully unexpected ability to stir feelings in others by jotting down thoughts about life around me. On looking back, I now feel that God’s grace dictated; I wrote, and blessings flowed.

Basic discovery came with a ninth grade English-class essay assignment. Everyone steadfastly endured the reading of one another’s composition with polite yet definitely strained patience. I dreaded my turn but courageously answered the call.

I have no remembrance of what I wrote back then, but know only that I read on not daring to look up until just before my last paragraph when the bell rang to end class. I stopped, fully expecting my friends to jump up, as was our custom, and shuffle off to the next study period. Glancing up, I realized that no one had stirred. They were waiting for the ending to my story! Pleased with this new-found power, I read my conclusion, enjoyed their smiles of approval, and sent them happily on their way.

From that point on, still not fully understanding the source of this inexplicable gift, yet fleetingly thanking God for my successes, I went on to provide literary contributions to high school and college publications. I never kept copies. I felt I could always create more. Now I wish I had those notes, because they might well be reflective of Christ’s admonition, “Lest ye become as little children….”

It was not until many years later, when retirement and widowhood reaped intense changes in my life, that I found coping with difficult adjustments through what by then was a latent creative writing outlet.

A stellar opportunity was bestowed upon me when our pastor, searching for volunteers for the parish newspaper, led me through years of feature-story writing. Since my experience had been based solely on personal enjoyment, I felt the desperate need of prayer reinforced by strains of taped Gregorian Chants in the background throughout every writing process. Assignments, seeming to develop virtually on their own, ended with the sweet sensation of accomplishment that inevitably led me to the guilt-filled reflection, “Oh ye of little faith…”

Now that the prolific writing years have passed and words are slower in coming to mind, I find myself pondering the wonders of past developments. For example, I thoroughly appreciate the memory of a granddaughter who at age eight enjoyed telling stories. Her 4-line compositions miraculously solved all conflicts within her last sentence that would right all wrongs for a quick, happy climax to her tale. Aiming compilation of her works toward a Scout badge, she hurdled the final requirement, that is, conferring with an established author, by triumphantly declaring badge approval, as she exclaimed, “I’ll talk to Grandma!”

Many are the blessings God bears, like those that come from the mouths of babes.

…and all this I do believe.