“I’ve heard several editors say they make a practice of chopping off the concluding two to three paragraphs in Christian writing, not because the writing isn’t good, but because this is when Christians consistently shift into autopilot optimism. They present the story, the sorrow or the sticking point and then rush to resolve it. But what would happen if we let the pain sit for a while?” ~ Stephanie S. Smith
I was recently asked to contribute a chapter of my life to a collective book that will be released in the fall. Moody Publishing is pulling together stories about Inciting Incidents—moments of great change in the direction of the writers’ lives.
I thought about adoption, and infertility, but landed with the significance of therapy and art in my journey with depression.
When working through the book, our editor handled my contribution with great sensitivity and care. In fact, she asked me to elaborate on the pain, explain my discomfort in going to therapy, and talk more about what depression is like. And she didn’t make me write a “happily ever after” closing sentence.
This struck me. Hard.
I’m the girl who’s trying to live as a Christian with questions and pain and sometimes not-so-sunshiny days, and most people don’t offer a place for that kind of faith-story. Most people don’t give permission for us to just sit in it. Most people want to say it’s going to be alright.
But not everything turns out alright.
And it was important for my chapter to subtly say this.
Today I came across an article asking a very important question: “Why do Christians need to make it all better?” And the writer? Stephanie S. Smith, the sensitive soul who edited my chapter about depression.
She talked about pain and faith and conciliatory comments. Through her words in Relevant, I understood her perspective of editing our stories—my story—letting the pain of depression speak for itself and hold an unreconciled place in my life. Stephanie let me hurt; she didn’t try to make it all better.
And that, more than anything, brought me a step closer to reconciliation.