By Damaris Abreu
PROMPT — Who am I today?
It’s the first day of July. I’ve grown so much, in so many ways. I’ve experienced vulnerable moments in which I shared my heart with total strangers because of the safe setting of the library. The librarian was the familiar face. The one who I knew wouldn’t let words leave anyone’s lips with poisonous intentions. I felt safe that the comments would only be a factual or supportive transference of thoughts outwardly expressed, whether from words that were heard by our whole group, or seen in text within the Zoom chat.
I kept being surprised at the similarities between my fellow writers. Though sometimes big age gaps or differences in culture, similar hopes and fears were expressed. Sometimes kindred spirits were found in common Christian faith. Words were often expressed that I may have intended, but sometimes kept or reserved for another time. I was usually afraid of being too emotional with my writing. Being emotional was often associated with something women were too much of and that it was viewed as an interference of rational thought or a hindrance to words that were more acceptable. But one of the times in the creative memoir group, I had a liberating few words spoken to me. She said that my emotions brought more of me and helped the reader better grasp the inner turmoil or fondness of experience that mere facts would deprive the person on the reading end of my writing. Shame melted away and a sort of cloak of confidence took its place.
So today, I learn more as I reflect on such intimate experiences. I experience acceptance of myself, as well acceptance by others. Sometimes I’m shown a point of view that I probably would have rejected flatly. But since we were in a circle of colleagues and creative souls, I gave a more thoughtful approach to the words that were shared. I didn’t always agree, but it gave me something to think about. It softened the sharpness of my critical sword, even giving me reason to put it away entirely, less defensive and quicker to hear. That’s not easy and I didn’t always practice this. But I’m learning.
Lots of my willingness to learn has come from the scripture in Matthew 28 that talks about needing to bring my tiredness and burdens to Christ and take His yoke and burden, which is light. The rest I was finding in doing this, is what I learned of Him. Except that the Him isn’t seen in the historical Jesus that walked the land of Jerusalem. But it’s in my fellow writing being. I have to learn how to be more like Him while I interact with those I choose to come into a common walk with. To show them the courtesy I would show Him, if He was physically here, though He lives in me in my heart.
I still have to make choices to treat others better and serve more than be served. Walking with Him and letting His Words shape the choices I make each day have been making me who I am today. I am flawed and yet perfected or matured in Him, each time I allow even the mistakes to count for some kind of life lesson. It’ll always be my process of reflecting on each choice I make and bring it to a point of adjusting to His Word in the Bible of 66 books. I am a student today hoping and working daily to apply what I learn to become a good teacher.
Damaris Abreu is a Christian translating church services from Spanish to English (Hispanic—both Dominican & Puerto Rican). She is married to a Dominican American husband, and the mother of a 15yo teen son, 20yo adolescent daughter, and 21yo young adult son. Damaris was born in and lived in Manhattan, NYC for 15 years and has been a resident of Cleveland, OH since 1989. She taught for over 12 years in elementary schools. She enjoys writing in cursive, taking nature photographs, and still like exercising to Just Dance Wii songs! Damaris is interested in writing creative nonfiction, including children's non-fiction for magazines, interactive books and teacher resources.