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On Writing in 2019

WATCHING THE WAVES IN CAMBRIA

Today I walked out to the beach because I came to Cambria to write my story, but I needed to take some time to sit on the beach and watch the waves. I hopped across some rocks to get to a large boulder where I could sit and watch the waves wash into the rocks below me. It felt like I was sitting on the edge of heaven and earth. 

I watched the water flow in and out through the rocks. Lots of seaweed bobbed up and down in the water. Algae and plants grew on the rocks. Every color stone sat in the waves below me, and every color was in the sky and the water. The caps of the waves were white, but the ocean was every shade of blue and brown. 

This cove was just for God and me in this moment. I couldn’t help crying as I tried to soak it all in. It was impossible. I could not see it all at once. I could not smell and feel everything. I could not watch every wave and rock like I wanted to. I could not capture it, I could not hold it. I could not keep it. So I cried. I held my neck, waiting to see if it would begin to ache as I held back my tears, but it did not. 

“It’s too beautiful, God!” I cried out. I wondered if he was right next to me on the rock or if he was a few feet away.

“God, I can’t even handle it! How am I supposed to take in all this beauty?” The waves continued to roll in and out, never consuming me, never destroying me. But the beauty! Of the air, of the spritz of water in the air, of the moment. It was too much.

I thought of all the women who had wanted to sink into the ocean forever.

I thought of The Awakening, The Color Purple, and the Holocaust.

My sister Anne Frank. My sister Harriet Tubman. My sister Chanel Miller.

Every woman who wanted life and people to be good, but found that the only goodness they could find and trust and share was inside of themselves. 

“I can’t keep this moment,” I complained.

“You want to keep it because you are selfish,” He said. “Let it be OK with you that you can’t take it all in. You are not meant to take it all in. Just enjoy it without having to keep it. This is mine to capture and take in. This is my creation.”

“What am I supposed to do?” I asked.

“Write.” 

I am made in the image of God. He is a creator. He creates oceans, and people dip their toes in, but they cannot recreate what He has done. They don’t need to. It’s his creation. But my creation, my book, my story—that will be the thing people will dip their toe into and say, Wow. This is beautiful

And now in the retelling of the story, I feel again like I may implode. In the reliving of it. In the hideous, massive task ahead of me: the writing.

In everything unknown that will come over me if I follow through with it, and in everything bursting inside of me if I don’t–I struggle. 

The children will be my muse this time. The children who are in it right now. The children who are living in fear and pain. The abused, the voiceless. They are my children now and forever in heaven. I will mother them with my story, my love and compassion for them moving me from page to page. I will not stop until every child of mine, every single one, is safe in the Father’s arms. I will search for each one. I will find them. And I will hold them, rock them, kiss their sweet foreheads, and tell them everything is going to be OK.

Moonstone Beach photo


Chelsea Rotunno is the author of Goodnight to My Thoughts of You, a novel about life as a Christian teen searching for true love.

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