I felt a yearning I haven’t felt in a while…a yearning just to freewrite! The kind of writing inspired by a creative prompt where you set a timer and just let the thoughts spill onto the page or screen, scritchity scratchety or tickity typity. You don’t censor yourself. You don’t correct yourself. You fly forward with the freedom to just write.
Well, this yearning couldn’t have been better timed because there’s an event that happens across blogland every week around this time called “Five Minute Friday.” For the uninitiated, here’s a quick run-down of how it works.
Five Minute Friday
- Five Minute Friday was started by blogger, Lisa-Jo Baker, and the tradition lives on over at Kate Motaung’s blog, Heading Home. Each week, she provides a new topic on which to write. This week’s topic is share.
- You set a timer and write for five minutes only. No more. No less.
- This is freewriting, which means there’s no stopping, no going back, no editing. (Scary, I know.)
- She invites you (yes, you!) to participate and then link up your post at her blog. Or if you’re not a blogger, you can share your prompt in the comments section. You can read all about it by visiting here.
If you’ve never done something like this before, I highly recommend trying it. Even once. It’s a really thrilling (and terrifying) exercise, especially if you’re a perfectionist. It amazes me sometimes the kind of writing that spills out when I am focused on a single word for a set amount of time. It’s always way better than the first efforts of most of my post drafts. Whad’ya know!
Here we go again.
Last night, perusing the pages of an old journal, I unearthed a forgotten story. A forgotten boy. Theo. (Whose name I have changed to protect him.) He is a boy I had known in my “other life” years and years ago when I worked at the psychiatric hospital.
The memory was from one particular day shift, 7a – 3p, when I reported to the women’s unit (my home base) but was floated to the children’s unit. It was the most challenging unit to work on for me. And Theo was one of the most challenging patients that unit had ever seen.
Being shaken in anger as a baby had harmed him deeply. He lacked impulse control and insight. For no apparent reason, he would suddenly be overcome by the urge to punch every other kid on the unit. Most kids cycled through that unit within a week…maybe a few weeks. Theo had been there for months and wasn’t leaving anytime soon. He had nowhere else to go. Every facility in the state had rejected his application because of his history of violence. A boy so young with such a history of violence. (He looked about 7, but he was actually 10.)
But that particular day shift, Theo had fallen asleep on my shoulder for a good hour, and when he woke up for snack, I said, “Is that a chocolate chip cookie you have there?” Without skipping a beat, he broke the cookie in half and offered it to me. It was a gift worth more than diamonds to me that day. Such an extraordinary moment. A “this is my body broken for you” moment. A flower refusing to be choked by the weeds.
Today, Theo would be about 17-years-old. My prayer for him remains the same.
Make a way for him in this world, dear God. Make a way for him.
Dear reader, who has touched your life with their offering of “half a cookie”? What simple gifts have meant the most to you?
If any of you decide to jump on the “Five Minute Friday” train and link up at Heading Home, let me know! I’d love to read your share story.
Speaking of share…thanks to each of you who have shared with me – – whether you’ve offered an encouraging comment or email or perhaps even shared one of my posts or projects with someone you know, it’s a simple gift of great significance to me. Reflecting on your generosity and Theo’s half a cookie compel me to seek out opportunities to be generous with others. Generosity is contagious in that way.
Here’s a look back at past Five Minute Fridays…